Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association E-news 


 Volume 10                                                                         February/March 2010

Renewable Energy In Florida
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Message From FREPA President
 Dear Renewable Energy Supporters:

Much has changed since the last legislative session and although we are approacing March, many of us are just beginning to settle into the New Year. Florida now has an unemployment rate of 11.8 % and  all economic observers agree that  Florida is no longer an inexpensive state to live in and that Florida  can no longer base its economy on mostly tourism and growth.

Additionally, we must attract private investors for Florida innovations. Recent numbers indicate that California attract more venture capital dollars in one week than Florida does in a year. Why? One view is,  there is a perception that Florida is not keen on investing in education and VC dollars go where they feel there are more innovation and more bright energetic young people. Another   view is is that maybe  (as a state),we  have simply not focused on diversifying our economy and competing on the world stage. In a word, we have been spoiled by our natural attributes coupled with a predisposition to not be nimble enough to adapt to the changing  business climate and the realities of international/global  markets. 


We must do business differently. In the past, Florida has remained lukewarm about embracing the renewable energy/clean tech industry and at one time biotech. But, thanks to the leadership of Gov Jeb Bush, we have made tremendous investments in biotech, no longer bypassing the opportunity to lead in that industry.  All of this is changing. For instance, in places like Tallahassee, where its economy has forever relied upon government jobs, its leaders now see the folly of being a community seen as unfriendly to private industry. Their leaders now seek cleantech private industry.   And today, when citizens ask state legislators what are you doing to create jobs and they say well.. we have relaxed growth management rules, or given tax breaks and etc ....those no longer are satisfactory answers. 


So, this is an all hands on deck moment for Florida. Renewable energy and cleantech has now been embraced as the future of Florida by all forward thinking Floridians.  Even the most skeptical politician can no longer deny it, however, we tinker around the edges with rational concerns about cost and what will the voters accept... with both not being a reason to do nothing.  Developing this industry (I would argue) is all we have left to make sure that Florida remains a hot spot and is the envy of many other states. Cleantech and /or renewable technology is the right industry for Florida.  Silicon Valley is now focusing on cleantech. Will Florida lag behind again?  A stubborn resistance to policy change by our leaders makes us stagnant and never reaching full potential. In the Florida House, the echo I hear in  the halls about renewable energy is NO MANDATES.  However, such thought is really a false argument and is only a reason to maintain the status quo. The truth is, it would require a mandate to eliminate policies that in all fairness are simply mandates themselves. Policies that make it almost impossible for independent power production on our electric grids are mandates to keep the status quo and prevent competition. Nor does such policies  provide the choice which allows consumers the ability to choose   how they get their energy and from what sources.  We advocates have a job to do and we cannot do what we have always done either.


To that end, as you know FREPA has spent the last several months holding meetings all around the state of Florida with renewable energy entrepreneurs. Legislators participated in many of those meetings when we were in their areas. Stealing a line from Jerry McGuire (the movie), they screamed HELP ME, HELP YOU TO HELP ME.  They want to help, but they need renewable energy lobbyist to help them. The constant theme was a lack of a cohesive plan from the renewable energy lobby. They even told stories of lobbyist sabotaging legislation that was good for the industry in lieu of favorable legislation for their clients or a narrow subset of the industry. So Friends, we urge you to consider working together via shared principles to set up the framework for something that we currently do not have in Florida... a holistic renewable energy policy. 


Again, the future economy of our state depends on whether or not we diversify our economic drivers. And, renewable energy is a large part of that effort.  Florida families need to know that our leaders are leaving no rock unturned when it comes to creating jobs in Florida. So, we urge your involvement in our mission to develop the policy landscape necessary to grow green clean-tech jobs in Florida.  Please join   our fight to further independent renewable energy development and cleantech manufacturing in Florida.



Michael Dobson


Renewable Energy Caucus


In the run up to the 2010 legislative session, FREPA has the commitment of several legislators to participate in a bipartisan renewable energy caucus. Caucus members will include State Senator Lee Constantine, FREPA member and State Representative Michelle Rewhinkle Vasilinda along with  others. Please look for an upcoming  announcment of all caucus members on FREPA website.

What this caucus will need is direction  and education from policy experts in the field as well as a sense of support from the renewable energy advocacy community. Additionally, what this caucus will need is consistancy of purpose and principals with respect to our policy goals. As the legislative session gets frantic (as it always does), communications within the caucus will make for better chances that strategies can be executed. It will allow  Florida House and Senate members engaged in this subject to be continuously up to speed on the status of key renewable energy bills in both chambers. Additionally, they will be able to  help each other with technical knowledge as advocates will take on an educational role within the caucus, with the leadership of legislators who are caucus members. 
jim King
 Soluting Senator Jim King Redux
Dear Readers,

I hope you understand my taking personal liberty to honor the late Senator Jim King in this writing. We do this because (like many), we wish to see his last big legislative fight realized.  


Senator Nancy Detert has taken up the senator's energy bill along for the 2010 legislative session. There are also  a few other specific renewable energy related bills. Such bills are sponsored by Sen. Lee Constantine, FREPA's Legislative Champion of 2009, and Sen. Michael Bennett. The bills range from Clean Energy Portfolio Standards including nuclear to a pure Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard in addition to bills that deal with issues such as the avoided cost model that has hamstrung independent renewable energy producers and made purchase power agreements almost impossible.


To date, the house energy committee has not provided a bill however; we have been told that there will be an energy bill in the house. But, at this juncture the scope and target of that bill is unknown. As Florida's unemployment rate continues to be among the highest in the nation, it is clear that Florida should indeed pass a robust energy bill that will spur the industry in a way that will surely create the many jobs our citizens need and deserve as Florida cannot rely on simply tourism and growth to sustain it.


For the renewable Energy community, this session is akin to "put up or shut up". Over the last year FREPA has held policy and finance workshops around the state with one main goal. That goal is to do what all legislators told us after session. What they asked is that we have the renewable energy community come together with a clear plan. During our Orlando meeting   several representatives from other groups attended. That was a great start and a great meeting.  From that meeting, we committed to continuing to find those principles that will allow us to all work toward common policy goals. If not, divide and conquer.. a tried and true strategy, will again trump all. Let's do it for Jim.  I miss him a lot.... great man and great Floridian.   



Michael Dobson
Managing Member, Dobson, Craig and Associates,LLC
President/CEO FREPA  
Third Annual Sunshine State Energy Expo
At the  Mary Brogan Museum , Tallahassee , Florida
April 7-8
*Welcome reception on evening of April 7th
$175.00 meeting attendee fee
 (include reception, beverages, breakfast,lunch all sessions and materials)
$275.00 Exhibitors 
(include table, 8x5 area, table cloth, two chairs ) 
 Lunch and meeting materials included.
All paying attendees receive a 50% discount off of annual FREPA membership. 
Reserve your place now for this popular conference by signing up via paypal above 
Platinum-$5000 (limit 4)
Diamond-$3000 (limit 4)
For registration go HERE to dowload registration form and mail in payment
For more info on becoming a sponsor contact:


Second Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo

At the  Mary Brogan Museum , Tallahassee , Florida

April 7-8


April 7


6:00-8:00  Welcome Reception at Mary Brogan Museum


April 8


8:15-8:45 a.m. Sign In



 9:00a.m. - Welcome : Michael Dobson, President/CEO- Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association

Opening remarks by special guest  speaker -TBA


9:10- 10:00 ( Session A) Project financing

John May, VP Stern Brothers-Invited

K&L Gates, ted



9:10-10:00 (Session B)

Feedstock Availability; Biomass and Biofuels Project Financing 

Tawainga Katsvairo

Other Presenters-TBA



10:10-11:50a.m. (Session A) The role of government, policymakers and business leaders

Panel Discusion-TBA


10:10-11:50a.m. (Session B, lower level) Federal Renewable Energy Grant and Loans


Presenter- Representative USDA-TBA

Presenter- Representative DOE  -TBA




11:00- 11:45a.m. (Session A)- Fedral and State Cap and Trade/Renewable Energy Credits and relationship to  renewable project financing

Presenters: TBA


11:00- 11:45a.m. (Session B, Lower level)- Federal and State Energy Efficiency Policy  

A. Public policy in the area of energy efficiency

B. Making your home more energy efficient

C. Energy Efficiency research and development updates and opportunities

D. Products


Panelist and Presenters: TBA



12:00-1:15 p.m. - Lunch Session

Keynote speaker: TBA

"International market overview and energy investment big picture"  



1:30 - 2:20 p.m. (Session A)- Florida Green Jobs Economy

What are green jobs?

Where public policy and economic development meet

Tools to attract green jobs

Florida potential green economy

Role of education system




1:30 - 2:20 p.m. (Session B- lower level)- Renewable Energy Research and Development to Commercialization .. updates 


Panel- TBA


2:25- 3:20p.m. (Session A)-Cities and Counties reducing carbon footprints




2:25- 3:20p.m. (Session B)-Green building and construction opportunities in a green economy




3:25-4:55 p.m.- Moving Florida into a Leadership Position in Renewable Energy - what to do now.

Presentations-Panel Discussion- Q&A

Florida Renewable Energy Association (FREA)-Invited

Florida Solar Energy Industries Association(Flaseia)-Invited

Florida Farm Bureau -Invited

Florida Chamber of Commerce -Invited

Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association (FREPA)

Florida Universities Renewable Energy Consortium -Invited

Enterprise Florida-Invited

Florida Economic Development Councils


 5:30- 8:00 p.m. Informal gathering at Andrews Bar and Grill


April 9


8:00-8:40 (coffee , juice and danish available)

Renewable Energy Lobby Day Prep

Overview of key components of the Florida Renewable Energy advocates policy suggestions and list of key lawmakers, appointments and etc

Presenter: FREPA Renewable energy policy coalition coordinators.



8:45- Begin meetings with lawmakers at state capital


Upcoming FREPA Meetings and Events
 February 18th 2010- FREPA, Michael Dobson speaking at University of central Florida ventuire Lab cleantech Symposium on RPS
March 1, 2010 - Beginning of weekly renewable energy policy consortium meetings at capitol
March 4, 2010- FREPA presdident is panelist on "Goin Green Roundtable" at 5th Annual Fabricators Leadership Summit
March 10, 2010- Tallahassee Florida
Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards(RPS) Summit- Double Tree Hotel  
March 17, 2010 - FREPA Host Renewable Energy Lobby Day
April 7-8, 2010 - Third Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo  and Lobby Day

 US Government Budget Proposals  Increase Clean Energy Funding

by Kevin Eber and Ernie Tucker, NREL
Washington, DC, United States []

President Barack Obama unveiled on February 1 a $28.4 billion budget request for DOE for fiscal year (FY) 2011, including $2.36 billion for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). 

 SunPower To Acquire SunRay for US $277M

California, United States []

SunPower Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SunRay Renewable Energy, a European solar power plant developer with offices in Europe and the Middle East. SunPower will acquire SunRay from its shareholders, which includes its management and Denham Capital.Read More 


NREL: Feed-in Tariffs Legal in US When Certain Conditions Met

A new report charts path through the U.S. regulatory minefield.
Washington, D.C. United States []

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has issued a long-awaited legal analysis of how states could implement feed-in tariffs and still comply with federal law.

The future of Silicon Valley looks straight into the sun
Tuesday, December 22, 2009 5:52 AM
Source: USA TODAY)trackingBy Julie Schmit

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- MiaSole, a solar panel start-up, sits near the heart of Silicon Valley -- surrounded by blocks speckled with empty buildings that used to house chip, software and other companies.

Florida Senate Hopes for House Action on Renewable Energy
Senator Jim King may be gone, but his fight for renewable energy is moving forward, slowly.
Leadership Critical for Optimizing Florida's Renewable Energy Industry
 Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles H. Bronson recently presented the following op-ed piece on the importance of Florida having a vital renewable energy program:
FREPA Member News
Washington DC Lobby Fly In 
FREPA members Glenn Farris  of  Biomass Gas and Electric and Sebastian Studer of World Wide Wind Development represented FREPA in the  DC Fly in lobby day on February 2-3 which was organized by Pew Charitable Trust, Evironmental Defense and others. We additionally thank Robin Rorapaugh, Florida's representative for Pew Charitable Trust (Climate) and  all other sponsors. We apologize for not being able to identify them all, so if you are not listed, please know that we thank you very much. FREPA representatives where able to meet with both of Florida's US Senators, other key leaders and/or their policy staff.  
BIOMASS Under Attack in Florida
 *note by FREPA

In two separate occasions a small but vocal group enshrined in the media under the labels of "environmentalist" and "fighters for environmental justice." The opposition is emboldened from their efforts to stop a biomass plant in Tallahassee and has put their sites on proposed biomass plants in Port St Joe and Gadsden County. What we have learned about many who oppose biomass is that facts do not matter and job creation does not matter. Biomass is the low hanging fruit in Florida.  At a cost per kWh that falls better in line to counter some of the onerous obstacles that exist for independent large-scale renewable energy electric production in Florida... not to mention the jobs created during construction and during around the clock operations. Biomass provides reliable cleaner energy, which allows us to reach emissions reduction goals at the same time without the same cost hurdles as some equally important renewable energy technologies. Moreover, it is proven technology that uses Florida's own natural resources and is a great partner with our farmers.  


In reality, renewable energy developers goals of reducing carbon emissions, create jobs and provide a reliable source of renewable energy are often at odds with those who many believe should be our common allies. Unfortunately, these short cited and counter productive skirmishes has eliminated potential new green jobs and one may argue has negatively affected "lives" in Florida as healthcare is usually accessed through employment.  These fights are usually led by perhaps well meaning individuals who are in no danger of needing to depend on the jobs such projects provide to the communities they are targeted for.



FREPA is mounting a counter fight and have a media/communictions strategy for that purpose. To fight, we need your help.  We  cannot fight these battles without resources to mount an effective campaign. That is why we are asking that members help by donating  here to the FREPA Communication Outreach Program and write letters to the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat and e-mail , Pensacola News Journal and e-mail editor at , The Star  and email editor . Also contact the  Gadsden County Times and  Havana Herald.



Note from FREPA membership billing

 In October many FREPA annual memberships where billed. Please contact us at or 850-443-3477 if you have any questions about membership renewal or would like to change the way you are currently billed.
Please contact our office by phone at (850) 443-3477 and after March 10, 2010 at (850) 222-0441 or e-mail us at, or for additional information about FREPA.  
Michael Dobson
Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association