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Late Breaking News: House Appropriations Ag Subcommittee


Approves Budget Eliminating Farm Bill Energy Programs


Late today the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies approved a bill which would eliminate funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). These programs are vital for rural America's involvement in the new clean energy economy and fulfilling our shared goal of producing 25% of our nation's energy from farms, forests, and ranches by 2025.



In addition to providing grants and loan guarantees for farm or small business-based renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, REAP was recently changed to include funding for ethanol and biodiesel blending pumps. The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides support to stimulate energy crop plantings.

Overall, the House Appropriations bill would cut agriculture funding by approximately $2.6 billion, or 13% relative to the final FY 2011 budget. While 25x'25 recognizes the need to address the mounting federal deficit, spending cuts must be fair, proportional, and in alignment with national priorities. The total elimination of federal investments in priority Farm Bill energy programs is a short-sighted move that will undermine recovery and national security and short circuit ongoing efforts to break our dependence on foreign oil.


The bill will now go to the full House Appropriations Committee for mark-up on May 31st and will still need to pass the Senate before being enacted. As a 25x'25 partner, we urge you to contact members of the House Appropriations Committee as well as senators to tell them to protect these crucial programs.


Given the lateness of this hearing, we will be continuing to gather and send out information tomorrow on the impacts of this bill on other programs related to the 25x'25 mission.




FREPA is a member of the 25x25 colaition and ask that you urge the Senate to reject the proposed elimination of these programs.







FREPA letter to Senator Bill Nelson and to Senator Marco Rubio urging they reject any cuts much less elimination of the REAP and BCAP in the Agricultural Appropriations Act



Dear Senator (s) Nelson and Senator Rubio:


On May 24, 2011 the U.S. House Appropriations  Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drig Administration and Related Agencies passed a bill to eliminate the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) along with the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) in the farm approriations bill. This elimination or any cuts should not stand as it would imperil our nation's future.   


REAP allowed farmers to equip their farms with renewable energy devices that reduced their energy cost such as equipping their farms with wind mills, solar panels, anerobic digestion, creating biomass facilities and/or utilizing energy efficiency measures and devices. These measures created jobs for in energy installers, engineers, contractors and etc. The reduced energy cost allowed for the farmers to pass their savings along to Americans who are feeling the sticker shock of high food bills. Moreover, it allowed farmers to be more self sufficient, provide cleaner energy and enhance our environment as their operations become more sustainable.


The BCAP allowed farmers to grow energy crop for the production of biomass electricity and biofuels for transportation purposes. This protected a nation. It reduced our dependence on foreign sources of oil. It allowed farmers to grow a crop with high yield to produce energy using non food crop. It is a pilot which began in 2009 and whose final rules were established in October 2010 for complete expansion and adoption for a nation eager to reduce its dependence on foreign oil in addition to moving away from a singularly petroleum based fuel source for our country.


 In his October 21, 2010 press release announcing the program Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said ""Domestic production of renewable energy, including biofuels, is a national imperative and that's why USDA is working to assist in developing a biofuels industry in every corner of the nation. " said Vilsack. "By producing more biofuels in America, we will create jobs, combat global warming, replace our dependence on foreign oil and build a stronger foundation for the 21st century economy." And he also said, "The Obama Administration is aggressively supporting our nation's farmers, ranchers and producers of biofuels as they work to bring greater energy independence to America," Vilsack said. "BCAP will help the nation's power, biobased product, and advanced biofuel industries produce energy from sustainable rural resources and create jobs that will stimulate rural economies across the nation." He was right on all counts.    


While many debate the merits of various so called " government programs" or "entitlements", these programs should not be swept up into those arguments with a broad brush  as you do the hard work of trimming our federal budget. These programs are essential to our national security and are key if we are ever to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy to fuel our lives. These programs "frankly", should be beyond the politics of the day. 


Agriculture has historically and continues to be one of the lead industries in the state of Florida. And as such, has provided jobs and a livelihood for generations of Florida farmers and their families. These  programs which are  targeted for elimination are the programs that make sure that Florida farmers transition into fulfilling its role which was first broached by Henry Ford and Thomas Edison at the beginning of the 20th century when they saw farm to Fuel as the future of agriculture and the future of powering America. They understood the connection and potential self sufficiency of a nation that girds its agricultural community for providing crop that fuel our homes and our automobiles. They even produced biofuels themselves in the mid 1920's  before Standard Oil  (a once partner in the project) began to understand their undertakings as "competition". Measures where then taken to pull the rug from under the biofuels industries feet.


We are not sure if the vote in the U.S.  House of Representatives is merely history repeating itself, but we are sure that eliminating these important programs will once again stymie any progress to real energy independence and freedom. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison knew It then and today's brilliant minds know it as well. We hold our solutions in the palms of our hands. I only pray that our political will could simply reflect that which we see in earnest in the mirror.


These programs are the cornerstones for us moving into a 21st century America where we have more energy diversity and less dependence on foreign energy  sources.  They move us there by utilizing the knowhow of American farmers, American entrepreneurs and American families. So, with these thoughts in mind, we ask that you reject any cuts in these vitally important programs. Our futures  and our grandchildren's futures depend on it.




 Michael Dobson
 President/ CEO
 Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association

 *Note: letter in hard copy was sent to each Senator seperately


FREPA letter to Senator Bill Nelson 

FREPA letter to Senator Marko Rubio


Biomass Crop Assistance Program


Rural Energy For America Program 

To contact Senate Bill Nelson click HERE  or call Sen Nelson's Washington office at (202) 224-5274


To contact Senator Marco Rubio click HERE  or call Sen Rubio's washington office at (202) 224-3041



Hurry and Register Now!

Become a Sponsor!

Be  an Exhibitor!

for the

4th Annual Sunshine State Renewable Energy Expo

"the largest Florida renewable energy conference held by a Florida renewable energy trade association"


Visit event website HERE 

Where: South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island, Florida

When: July 27-29, 2011




jennifer granholm


Former Governor Jennifer Granholm

of Michigan


 July 27, 2011


3:00-7:00 p.m. Check In

After Check in. Play golf at South Seas Island Resort or at one of two golf courses at Sanibel Island


5:30- 7:00 p.m. Reception


7:15- 8:15 * VIP Dinner immediately following the reception- A one on one with Former Governor Jennifer Granholm (including photo ops)  


July 28, 2011


 7:30- 8:30 a.m.      Opening Breakfast Session (buffet style breakfast served)


 Welcome from FREPA Board Chairman and FREPA President/ CEO


jeff Kottkamp

Former Lt Governor, Jeff Kottkamp- Confirmed 




8:45--9:45 a.m. SESSION A

New renewable energy technologies: What's on the horizon and how they are game changers



Florida leading the way with projects that introduce new technologies ( presentations from FREPA members) 


Invited Representatives:



 American Renewables, Inc



10:00-10:50- SESSION A


 Financing renewable energy projects in 2011: private financing opportunities, securing funding, applying for government grants and the availability of financing for projects( includes representatives from USDA and DOE)



Fred Greguras



Fred Greguras-Cofirmed

International Renewable Energy Project Finance Expert

K&L Gates, LLP, Palo Alto, Ca




 The price of solar: Panel discussion with manufactures, solar installers , renewable developers, investors and  financiers on the real price of solar in America and its industry growth








 and Presenter 

 Barry Moline- Confirmed

 Executive Director of Florida Municipal Power Association


12:00-1:00 LUNCH SESSION



jennifer granholm

Keynote Speaker


Jennifer Granholm- Confirmed (bio was taken from Gov. Granholm website) 

Former Governor of Michigan

 Pew Charitable Trust Spokesperson


1:15-2:00 SESSION A

Farming, agriculture, large landowner and forestry: solving the puzzle as to their roles in a new energy source alignment for the 21st  century



New rules and technologies that are changing the solar and wind industry business model

 dell jones

Dell Jones, Regenesis Power, LLC - Confirmed

 Vice President of Renewable Project Development



American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) - Representative



2:15-3:00 SESSION A

Large and small  scale renewabe energy coexisting within a policy structure: Commercial solar and wind; residential solar and utility scale  projects coexisting in Florida ( how other states have done so)





Energy efficiency and conservation: its role, its technologies and policies that are helping them lead



3:15-4:15 SESSION A


Cleantech manufacturing: What startups are doing in Florida, potential for exporting energy technology, policy/funding needs and how Florida can lead



al stimac

Featured presenter:Al Stimac - Confirmed

President Manufacturers Association of Florida





 Florida energy crops/feedstocks: What are the status of current feed stock introduction, feedstock incentives , the farmers market( financial benefits for growing energy crop), what grows best here


Rot Beckford 


 Presenter Roy Beckford- Confirmed

University of Florida- IFAS  


Topic: Status of Jathropha curcas research in Florida; Carribean and Latin American impacts









Keynote address by Bob Dinneen, Executive Director, National Renewable Fuels Association. This is a dinner and ceremony to include members of the Florida legislature, acknowledge their support, acknowledge  leadership within the Florida renewable energy industry from identified renewable energy businiesses, entrepreneurs and project developers. Announce foundation awards for service and advocacy within the Florida renewable energy industry 




Bob Dinneen, Executive Director National Renewable Fuels Association 



July 29, 2011


 8:00-9:00 a.m.    CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST (coffee, tea, juice, fruit and danish available)


How states lead in renewable energy: renewable energy leaders and policy experts from a panel discussion lead by a presentation from Dr. Jan Hamrin known as the architect of California's leadership position in renewable energy policy. A discussion and Q&A.



jan hamrin 

Featurered Speaker 

 Dr. Jan Hamrin- Confirmed 


 CEO JHMW International, Inc



9:15-10:00 a.m.  SESSION A


Renewable energy regulation updates: Federal Electric Regulatory Commission (FERC) , Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Florida Public Service Commission activity to watch, what has Florida legislature contributed and what are the expectations.





Local government and economic development councils partnering to take the lead: what some local governments and economic development councils are doing to bring clean tech industry to their communities and how they are fostering an environment in government for industry


Lee County



10:15-11:30 a.m.  SESSION A


Florida renewable energy portfolio: presentations followed by a panel discussion about what is a practical renewable energy portfolio for Florida (panel will consist of industry representatives from solar, wind, biomass, hydrelectric, waste to energy, CHP and biofuels used for electric generation)





Florida's alternative transportation fuels infrastructure: improvements, challenges, successes, opportunities


 dave bruderly

David Bruderly, PE - Confirmed


11:20 a.m.- 12:15 p.m. 


 Florida Universities: New technological advances, research and development, update on university energy consortium focus on renewable energy; and successes, opportunities and challenges to commercialization of its discoveries


john Wolan

 Dr. John Wolan - Confirmed

 Associate Professor

University of South Florida


12:20-1:20  LUNCH



 John May



Keynote Speaker, John May,  Stern Brothers and Company

Topic: What  wall street is telling us about renewable energy

 casey swercheck

Casey Swercheck- Confirmed

 Hamilton Lane, Inc , Manager of Forida Growth Fund 

Topic: Introduction to Hamilton Lane, overview of Florida growth Fund.. it's beginning, its goals, how it works  and opportunties for funding clean technology business ventures  in Florida




What is the current status of national policy efforts for renewable energy and an overview on how the policy lanscape has changed since November elections and what to expect going into the 2012 cycle





 Bob Dinneen, Executive Director, National Renewable Fuels Association





A panel discussion with policy and renewable energy business experts to identify the key take away points of the conference and methods by which supporters and the business community could capitalize on Florida renewable energy industry growth opportunities









 The Sunshine State Renewable Energ Expo is still receiving proposals and abstracts for presentations. If you have one and would like to make a presentation, please e-mail your ideas to




Signup and register as an attendee, exhibitor and/or sponsor




Attendee Fee

Non FREPA Members $275

Member $150


Exhibitor Booth  Fee  

Non FREPA Members $375

Member  $200


Make Payment Here




Registration Form 

Or visit the registration page HERE to registrator securely online



 South Seas Island Resort

 Special Room Rate $179.00 for conference


Become A Sponsor





Why become a sponsor? This renewable energy grant and funding workshop offers high visibility and recognition focused at your target audience in the renewable energy industry and policy arena. Sponsorship establishes your leadership in the market, your community consciousness, community goodwill as it relates to the future of our energy needs, and provides valuable exposure and advertising for your company in what is an exciting industry.



 We are currently looking for Exhibitors & Sponsors!  For further information on exhibit packages and/or sponsorship, please contact: our office by phone at 850-363-4122, e-mail,







Priority placement of name and logo on conference website, conference and promotional materials.





Dignified and appropriate signage recognizing sponsorship




Complimentary exhibit table & registration






Reference in all media advisories
































































































News Links of Interest

*the following links are also on the FREPA website


Energy Politics


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FREPA is expanding its board and is now accepting applications for new board members and/or sub-committee members. If you are interested in serving on a committee or participating on our board or be an advisor, please send your bio to  

Join FREPA today or simply make a donation of support. Download NEW membership app HERE. Please allow 24 hrs for all credit card s to be processed.

Please contact our office by phone at (850) 363-4122 or e-mail, or for additional information about  FREPA.  


Michael Dobson
Florida Renewable Energy Producers Association

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