Renewable-energy project launched at two St. Petersburg sites

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 27, 2008) – Cutting-edge renewable energy technology that could become part of the energy system of the future was unveiled today at Albert Whitted Park and USF St. Petersburg.

The Sustainable Electrical Energy Delivery System (SEEDS) project has the potential to become part of tomorrow’s “Smart Grid” power delivery system and could improve the environment, diversify energy sources and lower costs for consumers.

“USF is playing an important role in the quest for sustainable energy solutions through various initiatives and this project represents a major breakthrough,” said USF President Judy Genshaft. “Depending on the results, it may well serve as a model for other cities in the U.S. and around the world. We are delighted to be working with the Governor, the Mayor and Progress Energy Florida on a project that exemplifies the meaning of applied research – research that is impacting our community in a positive way.”

A public-private partnership by University of South Florida, the City of St. Petersburg, Progress Energy Florida and the Florida High Tech corridor made the project possible. The twin installations were designed and developed by researchers at Progress Energy Florida and the USF Power Center for Utility Explorations, which is developing energy solutions while training the next generation of power engineering professionals.

"As Florida's first designated Green City, St. Petersburg is proud to partner with USF and Progress Energy Florida on this new renewable energy system as we collectively continue to look for sustainable, innovative solutions to our energy needs", said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker.

There is currently no efficient way to store electricity that is compatible with the needs of the power grid. The SEEDS research project, Progress Energy and USF are evaluating the feasibility of this tool for the collection and storage of energy generated from renewable sources like solar. This advanced energy-storage system could become part of a future “Smart Grid” power-delivery system. In addition to making renewable energy available when it is needed, the system also could be used to store energy generated by power plants during off-peak times, when it costs less to generate, and deliver that energy back to the grid during times of peak demand.

"We continually seek newer, cleaner ways to produce energy and this innovative and environmentally responsible project reflects that commitment,” said Jeff Lyash, president & CEO of Progress Energy Florida. “As we collectively work to secure our state’s energy future, building partnerships like these will help us find solutions to the challenges we face.

" Each site uses a photovoltaic system to collect solar energy, which is stored, along with off-peak grid power, in a high-tech energy storage system. The system will be managed to make optimal use of the stored energy and will be a possible site for other storage and multiuse technologies.

There was a morning panel discussion on “The Future of Power in the State of Florida” at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, Progress Energy Florida President and CEO Jeff Lyash; Christopher D'Elia, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and professor of environmental science and policy, USF St. Petersburg; USF engineering professor Alex Domijan; and John Masiello, director of demand side management and alternative energy, Progress Energy Florida, to kick off the day’s events.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

The mission of the USF Power Center for Utility Explorations (PCUE) is to explore all power systems issues comprehensively and develop innovative solutions to the complex challenges in electricity infrastructure, and to train the next generation of power engineers. PCUE is a USF system wide center and is aimed at being the first in the nation to offer interdisciplinary degree programs in power engineering to meet the challenges being faced by the power industry. The PCUE board consists of Progress Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company, Florida Power and Light Company, Tampa Armature Works, Seminole Electric and Sumter Electric. For more information about the PCUE, visit the USF web site at

Progress Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), provides electricity and related services to 1.7 million customers in Florida. The company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, Fla., and serves a territory encompassing more than 20,000 square miles including the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information about Progress Energy, visit the company’s Web site at

-USF -