Renewable Energy In Florida
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Dear Renewable Energy Supporters,
First, we thank the many attendees who participated in our Second Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo, held in Tallahassee on March 12. We are now entering the final quarter of our legislative session and at this writing, we still do not have a renewable energy bill in the Florida House of Representatives. In the Florida Senate we have a compromise bill (SB 1154) that includes "clean coal" and "nuclear" energy into a portfolio standard called "clean energy portfolio standard". The truth is that despite all the talk about Florida being the "Sunshine state" and our abundant natural resources because of our robust agricultural community, we may not have an Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard bill (RPS) at the end of the 2009 regular legislative session. If that happens, it will be a black eye to Florida. We would have missed our only chance to finally be a major player in an industry that can truly diversify our economy. And, it will be our own fault. It would be our fault because while we can lament the various political reasons, we cannot make any of them an excuse for not taking action and for not providing jobs. It is our fault because when policymaker action is absent, it then becomes the duty, and yes, the obligation of citizens to act. If we missed this opportunity it would be an embarrassment to our great state and may be irreversible. Other states are moving ahead and reaping the rewards for doing so.
As a long time Florida lobbyist participating in the hardball elements of governmental relations, I have always understood that a good bill is one in which no one gets their way entirely. The same is true for the renewable energy legislation that is currently not moving through the legislature. So, with respect to the current Senate bill, it begs the questions: What is a compromise and what is a clear abandonment of the core principle of the desired goal? For many, the latter seems to be true. But with great respect to the bill sponsor, compromise is never easy and his difficult job is rightfully acknowledged. But, he does in fact have a bill that is poised for debate. Again, such currently does not exist in the Florida House of Representatives.
It is fair to say that historically Florida has not promoted the renewable energy or clean tech industry with the same vigor that it protects and promotes those industries that are more entrenched and familiar. That is only natural. This makes getting a renewable energy portfolio standard and a green revolution in Florida difficult, but not impossible. We hang our hope that for the sake of state pride, bragging rights, and desire to create new jobs, our leaders would overcome the urge to double up on any and all resistance to change, even when it is clear our citizens want it and our economy needs it. One would think that those things would present a sense of urgency, but such urgency is not apparent.
Currently, nearly a half billion dollars (or more) in federal stimulus dollars are committed to Florida with a focus toward creating green jobs when you combine dollars to local government, the weatherization program and direct dollars to our energy department. Weekly, FREPA's office receive calls from college students eager to learn more about the renewable industry and those who are looking to major in areas that focuses on renewable energy, energy efficiency or sustainability. Flip to any channel on our now over 300 channel cable system and you may hear about the shift to a green economy, green jobs, the environment, energy efficiency, power from the sun, farm to fuel and etc. But, with all that said and being on the cusp of creating the policy landscape that will spur the green market in Florida, (at this writing) movement to change the energy paradigm in Florida has stalled in our legislature.
So, we urge our leaders to continue working to find a way forward to not damper the enthusiasm we see and feel for the many opportunities in this new industry for generations yet unborn. To have a more sustainable source of energy for them and live in a world that is safer, we must fully embrace renewable energy production in Florida and throughout the United States. More importantly, Florida could use the green jobs.
While we urge our leaders to continue working toward our goals, we also recognize that true revolutions in any policy often times come from beyond our state capital. They come from the citizens. We ask you and them to act with the urgency this moment deserves by contacting the Governor, Speaker of the House , Senate President and members of the legislature to get a renewable energy policy now... not tomorrow. Florida's chance is now and tomorrow will be too late. Whoever summons the courage and lead solely on behalf of Floridians and counter to special interest on this issue will truly be a leader to behold.
And, Mr. Governor ...we need you. We urge you to expend some political capital now on the renewable energy policy in this legislative session as you have been a champion of this cause. It is possible that the penchant of some to defer to the ebb and flow of legislative politics out of courtesy may not do. We urge your help. We call upon all to contact our officials and voice their support.
YOUR CALL TO ACTION
To have real change in Florida's energy policy, we will need the help of our readers and every citizen you can send this writing out to. We call upon you to contact your elected official in the legislature and:
- Urge our legislature to pass a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS) bill this legislative session. This is Florida's moment to lead
- Urge our legislators to rebuff efforts of those who are only interested in maintaining the status quo, keeping Florida from becoming a leader in an industry that is a natural fit to our sunshine and agriculture
- Ask that the legislature pass a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards (RPS) bill that does not include nuclear energy or coal
- Advise the legislature that our argument is not so much against coal or nuclear but FOR a diversified economy with renewable energy and a clean tech industry utilizing our abundant natural resources
- Suggest to legislators that coal and nuclear be separated from renewable energy in any bill and be pursued separately as we should see where R&D takes us with solving the problem areas that still permeate both (nuclear and so called clean coal) as our future will need to rely on a variety of energy sources as our population and usage will demand
- Ask that the RPS target dates in a passed bill be moved up and are soon so that our new industry is jumpstarted earlier... there is an urgency to create new jobs
Please call and voice your support by going to the webpages below, identifying the legislator in your area, calling and asking for their support for a an RPS bill now and one that is focused on what are the accepted definitions of renewable energy.
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'Solar farm' on public buildings
A city council is look at turning its buildings into a "solar farm" to offset the carbon footprint of its energy use. A report claims Newport's civic centre, its international sports village and schools and community centres can be used to generate renewable energy. Read more
EPA Moves Toward Regulating Greenhouse Gases
by Jeff Brady
NPR.org, April 17, 2009 · The Environmental Protection Agency may begin regulating carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, it announced Friday after concluding the gases are a danger to public health and welfare. Read more of story
Biofuel Skycar headed for production in 2010
by Sebastian Blanco on Apr 17th 2009
Earlier this year, the Parajet Skycar Expedition, featuring the "World's First Bio-fuelled Flying Car," flew from London, England to Timbuktu in Mali, Africa. Read more of story
FREPA Holds "Florida Green Business Opportunities Workshop," A meeting with a purpose
Enjoy a one-day workshop at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Hotel of Sarasota, FL to learn about the impacts of the 2009 Florida Legislative Session on Florida's future green economy from top renewable energy and climate change consultants on May 14-15, 2009. The workshop will also provide an extensive overview of the federal stimulus as it relates green business' engaged in clean/innovative manufacturing, renewable electric generation and fuel production projects, energy efficiency ventures and new technology, city and county government energy programs and sustainability projects, to name a few.
Guests will be greeted with a cocktail reception on Thursday, May 14 followed by the workshop the next day, Friday, May 15. Outstanding meals will be provided throughout the day and attendees have the option to schedule a round of golf after the meetings have closed.
Below you can find a brief agenda template for this event. Watch for updates over the next week.
Thursday, May 14
Cocktail Reception- 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Friday, May 15
7:00-8:30 Breakfast will be served in meeting room
Welcome- 8:15 a.m.
8:30- 9:30- 2009 Florida Legislative and congressional wrapup
This Session: What the recent Florida legislative session and activities in congress will mean to the renewable energy and alternative fuels electric generation and fuel production industries in Florida. What will it mean for R&D, energy products, sustainabilty markets and manufacturing. What is our way forward. How do you get renewable business deals done in the current regulatory environment.
FREPA President- Michael Dobson
Florida Wildlife Federation- Jay Liles- Invited State Senator Dan Gelber - Invited
United States Congresswomen,Kathy Castor-Invited
9:40 - 10:40 Federal, state and local government grant opportunities
This session: Presentations from local government, state and federal government administrators about the various grant and funding opportunities for your energy project and get some insight into their review process. presentation by grant writers and grant review professionals specific to such programs.
Orange County, Lori Cuniff- Invited
Florida League of Cities- Invited
Florida Association of Counties- Invited
10:50- 11:30 Federal stimulus
This Session: The Federal Stimulus updates specific to renewable energy business opportunities in Florida. What are the real opportunities for your business and how do you sign up.
DOE- Sam Tagore-Invited
Lunch- 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Keynote speaker: Chadborn and Parke
Florida Governor Charlie Christ - Invited
1:15-2:30 p.m. How to make the project a reality
This session: Investor confidence in the renewable energy market. What do investors need from you and what will improve your chances for getting project financing. What do utilties look for in considering a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with a renewable developer
Hogan and Harston, LLP - Invited
Florida Power and Light- Invited
Tampa Electric - Invited
Progress Energy- Invited
*Attendees will then have the option to golf at the beautiful Ritz Carlton course
With Golf Fee
(include a full round of golf)
*Note:Zagat Survey names The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club one of "America's Top Golf Courses" in their 2007/2008 guidebook and ranks it #6 in the nation for Top-Rated Service
1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34236
For more information on this event, please continue to check our website for more details and updates by clicking Here
*Note: All Florida attorneys participating in the workshop will be provided the appropriate CLE forms to get course attendance credit from the Florida Bar.
|Going Bananas For Sustainable Research: Scientists Create Fuel From African Crop Waste
Apr. 6, 2009- Bananas are a staple crop of Rwanda. The fruit is eaten raw, fried and baked - it even produces banana beer and wine. Around 2 million tons are grown each year but the fruit is only a small percentage of what the plant produces. The rest - skins, leaves and stems - is left to rot as waste.To continue reading this article, Click Here
|Restructuring in the Face of Climate Change
By Jeffrey Marlow
April 10, 2009- The collapse of building-size chunks of ice into Neko Bay in Antarctica provide a fitting metaphor for the challenges facing businesses today. From the end of March to early April, BP, the British oil giant, hosted 50 college and university students from around the globe, along with several conservationists, climate change experts and energy executives, on an expedition to Antarctica. Jeffrey Marlow, a master's student in Earth science and engineering at Imperial College, London, was among the students. He chronicled his journey, and the discussions of climate change and energy development that unfolded along the way, for Green Inc. The following is one several installments. To continue reading this article, Click Here
|In Areas Fueled by Coal, Climate Bill Sends Chill
|By Felicity Barringer
ST. LOUIS - Chatting with a visitor about energy issues in the back of the Greater Mount Carmel Baptist Church here, a group of women exploded in laughter at the idea that their electric rates were among the lowest in the nation. "We can barely afford what we have now," said Renee Daniels-Hanner, 48, an office manager who lives with her husband, a postal employee, and their teenage daughter in a three-bedroom brick home in the city's Baden neighborhood. To continue reading this article, Click Here
|Using Fungi to Replace Styrofoam
By Laura Shin
April 13, 2009-As a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Eben Bayer, a co-founder of the company Ecovative Design and a Vermont native with some experience harvesting mushrooms, realized that perlite, a type of volcanic glass frequently used as a component of insulation, was also used in growing mushrooms.
He thought it might be possible to make insulation out of fungi using perlite - and in a class before he graduated in 2007, he proved right.
Now, the company he founded with classmate Gavin McIntyre - Ecovative Design - is angling to provide not just a mass-market, organic insulation material, but also a replacement for Styrofoam, the non-biodegradable, carbon-intense material used widely in packing and shipping. To Continue Reading this article, Click Here
|Report shows mid-Atlantic has high potential for wind energy
By Bruce Henderson
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The breezes blowing across the shallow waters of the mid-Atlantic coast, including North Carolina, hold some of the nation's highest potential for harvesting wind energy, a new federal report says.
Wind over waters less than 100 feet deep could supply at least 20 percent of the electricity needs of most coastal states, the Interior Department report says. Erecting wind turbines in shallow water would be cheaper and easier than in deep water. To continue reading this article, Click Here
|Michael Dobson: Don't lose chance to be a leader in renewables
April 2, 2009-Florida has a chance to lead, but not today.
In 2008, the Florida Legislature directed the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to develop rules for a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) for passage during the 2009 legislative session. An RPS is a policy that requires power generated by Florida's investor-owned utilities to include a certain amount of renewable energy resources by a certain date. The PSC has asked that 20 percent of all electric generation be from renewable energy resources by 2020. This standard allows us to use our abundant sun and robust agricultural industry to create energy.
Simply establishing an RPS will make Florida the leader in the Southeast, which is not on the map when it comes to a reliable renewable energy policy. A vibrant renewable energy industry - and a green jobs revolution - are, without exception, already under way in the 29 states that have adopted a mantatory RPS. Meeting energy needs with native renewables instead of conventional fuels from out of state keeps jobs and dollars in state and strengthens Florida's economy. To continue reading this article, Click Here
Not a Lot of Jobs, But the Right JobsApril 1, 2009-Our coverage of Florida's regional economies in this issue includes boxes reflecting who's hiring in each region. In highlighting those firms, we aren't trying to pin a smiley face on a gloomy economy, or to be contrarian for its own sake. Times are indeed very tough. Part of our rationale was simply to see - given the relentlessly grim day-to-day coverage of Florida's financials - who, if anybody, is still growing. And whether any kind of thread or theme might link those firms.
by Mark R. Howard
What emerges from the coverage is a sense that the battleships of Florida's economy - construction, home sales and tourism, most obviously - may be dead in the water for the moment, but other newer, more agile craft are still making headway. To continue reading this article, Click Here
Carbon Markets: Merrill Lynch's Karmali discusses role of markets in economic recovery
April 07, 2009-What role will carbon markets play as the United States recovers from the global economic downturn? How can the United States successfully integrate a cap-and-trade system without burdening taxpayers? During today's OnPoint, Abyd Karmali, managing director of carbon markets at Merrill Lynch and president of the Carbon Markets & Investors Association, discusses the future of carbon markets as the United States seeks to implement a cap-and-trade program. He gives his take on the Waxman-Markey climate and energy draft. Karmali also explains whether a Pan-American carbon market could be beneficial to reducing emissions from manufacturing and trade. To watch this interview, Click Here
|Utility backs green measure
Glendale Water & Power is on track to meet new energy standards proposed in bill.
By Zain Shauk
GLENDALE - Local utility managers voiced support Tuesday for a bill that would force them to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020.
The proposed law would help speed the development of power plants and transmission lines in California that could cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions, the managers said.
While many of the state's 46 utilities are not on track to meet the proposed mandate, Burbank Water and Power and Glendale Water & Power are both expected to meet the 33% goal by 2020 because they have joined with other utilities to build green energy plants in other states and transmit that power back to the Los Angeles area, managers said. To continue reading this article, Click Here
Southern Ethanol Council Hosts Meeting in Downtown Tallahassee
Working with FREPA member Eastcoast Ethanol, the Southern Ethanol Council is hosting an ethanol education and awareness meeting. Our nation has dedicated itself to producing an environmentally and economically acceptable alternative fuel. Southern biofuels and ethanol will play an important role in this effort. It is important that you, as a policymaker and leader, be informed of the current status of both cellulosic and grain based ethanol. It is also important that you receive the facts concerning the status of the technology and the economic impact the industry has on our local and state economies. Additionally, you must also have a grasp of the impact the grain alcohol industry has on our food, livestock and poultry industries. These issues will be key components of the discussion concerning the future sustainability of the alternative fuel industry.
We cordially invite you to attend our event, A Holistic Approach to Growing a Green Economy in the Southeast, on May 6th, 2009. The event will begin at 11:00 AM and take place at the TBD in Tallahassee, Florida. We will conclude by 1:30 PM.
To confirm your attendance or to obtain additional information, please contact us at 229.326.1100 or by e mail at email@example.com. Your understanding and support of the ethanol industry is vital to the success of the biofuels industry in Florida.
To visit the Southern Ethanol Council website, Click Here
Cheap Gas? Try $1 a Tank
By Kate Galbraith
April 16, 2009-Last month, I paid a brief visit to Venezuela. Aside from the glorious, 80-degree weather, the most astonishing thing about the country is the rock-bottom price of gas.
It cost $1 - including tip - to fill up the Subaru Forester that my hosts were driving. Just to repeat: that's $1 for a tank!
Venezuela has long been among countries with the cheapest gas on the planet. It is an oil producer, and like other countries with similar oil resources, it heavily subsidizes the price of gasoline to its own people. To continue reading this article, Click Here
|Spain Helps Nudge Nuclear Power Revival
By Matthew L. Wald April 16, 2009-The nuclear power revival always seems to be just over the horizon, but General Electric and Hitachi, partners in two reactor designs, lined up an ally on Tuesday when a Spanish manufacturer, Equipos Nucleares S.A., known as Ensa, agreed to assemble reactor vessels and other large parts.
"We are expanding our capabilities," said Daniel L. Roderick, senior vice president for nuclear plant projects at G.E
He would not say how many reactor vessels he expected the plant to make, but he said that work had already begun on parts for one of the newest designs: the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor. He would not identify the buyer. To continue reading this article, Click Here
|Career Conference Guides Job Seekers to Growing Green Economy
April 6, 2009, San Diego, CA-The California jobless numbers keep climbing, threatening to grow to the worst rates seen in the state since the Great Depression. Depressing. But thanks to billions in stimulus money poised to be distributed soon, there is one sector of the economy that will soon be booming - the green sector. To continue reading this article, Click Here
Please contact our office by phone at (850) 222-0441 or e-mail us at Michael@Floridaenergyproducers.com, Lauren@Floridaenergyproducers.com or Info@Floridaenergyproducers.com for additional information about FREPA.
Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association