The Florida State University

IESES Newsletter

June 2010 
Image of Melanie Simmons
Dave Cartes, Director
Dave at JMI
Here at IESES, we serve as a public resource. This newsletter highlights the research of our colleagues and noteworthy items related to achieving a sustainable energy economy. If you have news to share, please let us know.

Clean Energy Congress Develops Policy Recommendations for Advancing Clean Technology in Florida
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Dr. Dave Cartes (above right) - Director of the FSU Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability (IESES), served as the Master of Ceremonies at the Clean Energy Congress as Chief Financial Officer Alex Sinks (bottom left) presents to the delegates. 

Susan Glickman
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ean Energy Congress took place June 28-29, 2010 in the House Chamber at the Florida State Capitol.  The Congress was held to promote polices that will develop the clean technology sector, grow Florida's economy and create jobs. Susan Glickman, Director of the Business Network for a Clean Energy Economy, organized the Congress.  For more, information see
Economics of Sustainability Taught at FSU
Professor Mark Isaac developed the course.
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Among the objectives of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium are  frontier research and the training of a new generation of Floridians for work in industries dealing with energy and the environment.  Through a program funded by the FSU IESES, a new undergraduate course on the Economics of Energy, the Environment and Sustainability was developed by Dr. Mark Isaac and Doug Norton of the Economics Department. The new course was offered for the first time in the Spring Semester of 2010. In addition to refreshing the students on some fundamental aspects of economic thinking, the instructors presented formal economic models of sustainability.  Areas such as renewable and non-renewable natural resources and consumption decisions for intergenerational sustainability were covered. Isaac and Norton also lectured on topical areas in which these economic models of sustainability are important. These topics included water usage, cap and trade systems (and their alternatives) and agricultural subsidies.

Stephanie Moline presenting her findings to the class. 
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Students were required to participate in two group presentations. One was a formal exploration of ways in which non-economists use the term sustainability. For the second presentation, the student groups researched and presented recommendations on sustainability issues that should be important to the Tallahassee community with regards to the Tallahassee municipal electric utility. Among the topics investigated were: Why is the Tallahassee municipal utility a government rather than an investor-owned enterprise? What are "feed-in" rates for alternative energy, and how have they performed elsewhere? What would be the effects on our electric utility if there were a sudden switch to electric cars?

Doug Norton also developed and co-taught the course.
Doug Norton
The course received very favorable student reviews in its first offering.  For example, Stephanie Moline, said "What I gained the most out of this course is that it gave me a deeper understanding of the trade offs and unintended consequences of potential environmental solutions. I left being able to apply the concepts and theories I learned to my area of interest which is Development Economics." Ms. Moline now works with Banco de Ahorro y Credito, Adopem - a bank established to promote the development of Dominican families by incorporating them into the formal economic and financial system, within a framework of ethical values, seeking to benefit society in general.

For more information, see Professor Isaac's web page at and Doug Norton's web page at Mark Isaac is an IESES partner. 
"Does Florida Law Support or Hinder Siting for Biomass Power Plants?" - Special to the IESES Newsletter from Visiting Scholar Uma Outka
That's a question with a mixed answer. 

First, it's important to distinguish between law that promotes the development of renewable energy generally, which affects how many biomass facilities are proposed to be sited in the state, and law that touches directly on the question of how and where to site facilities once proposed.  Regarding the latter, there are several ways in which Florida law is designed to support power plant siting, including biomass facilities. The Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act is the state's long-standing regulatory framework for siting large-scale power plants - it applies to electrical generation facilities with capacity of 75 Megawatts (MW) or more, whether powered with biomass or more traditional resources.  The legislative intent was to achieve a "balance" between the need for power plants and the environmental impacts, including the burden to host communities ( 403.502, Fla. Stat.). 

The statute works to make siting easier in several ways. For example, it creates a single state license, in lieu of multiple permits that would otherwise be required, and provides a single point of contact in the Department of Environmental Protection to coordinate multi-agency review of an application.  Review is structured as a time-limited legal proceeding, incorporating interested parties to minimize legal challenges.  It also gives the Governor and Cabinet authority to approve a site over objection of the host local government if doing so is in the public interest. 

Prior to the 2010 legislative session, a biomass plant smaller than 75 MW would be sited, or not, through the local land use process outlined in the state's "Growth Management Act," ch. 163, part II, Fla. Stat.  It is a workable process, based on local comprehensive planning, but it can be unpredictable, with land use approval obtained separately from state permits.  New provisions of law taking effect July 1 address this unpredictability for smaller facilities.  Amendments to the so-called "Expedited Permitting" statute ( 403.973, Fla. Stat.) entitle facilities "generating renewable energy" to streamlined and coordinated review of state permit applications and local land use approval, among other benefits.  Biomass is a qualifying renewable energy source for purposes of this statute. With respect to permitting, then, Florida law is supportive of energy developers siting biomass facilities. 

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Uma Outka, above, is a Visiting Scholar in Energy and Land
Use Law, FSU College of Law

A slightly different question is how well Florida law supports good siting - for example, does it encourage the use of previously developed sites for renewable energy projects? Does it provide guidance for choosing and developing sites in ways that are compatible with surrounding natural or urbanized areas?  Does it offer an effective framework for selecting least-harm sites when undeveloped land must be used?  Does it do enough to involve the public in planning for (instead of simply reacting to) energy expansion?  And with particular importance for biomass, do our legal frameworks sufficiently ensure that sustainable harvesting practices can and will be achieved at or near the selected site?  Through well-crafted law, Florida can do much more to support good siting in these and other ways.  Indeed, with all we hear about so-called NIMBYs standing in the way of progress, siting well may be the most effective way to "streamline" worthy renewable power projects.

A full length article on these issues is available here.  You can contact Uma Outka at Professor Outka is an IESES partner. 

FSU Begins to Benchmark Campus Sustainability Efforts
Jim Stephens, Energy Engineer for FSU Facilities
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The FSU Sustainable Campus Initiative and the University's Facilities Department are embarking on a new project that will help benchmark campus sustainability efforts. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is an association of colleges and universities that are working towards promoting standards for sustainability throughout higher education. Elizabeth Swiman with the Campus Sustainability Initiative and Jim Stevens with FSU facilities have been working to make FSU more sustainable through AASHE's STARS program (Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System) which is a standardized, self-assessment rating system developed for higher education institutions to measure progress towards sustainability and receive recognition for accomplishments.
 stars logoSTARS is designed to:
Provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education.
Enable meaningful comparisons over time and across institutions using a common set of measurements developed with broad participation from the campus sustainability community.
Create incentives for continual improvement toward sustainability.
Facilitate information sharing about higher education sustainability practices and performance.
Build a stronger, more diverse campus sustainability community.
The results of this assessment will help FSU set goals for sustainability. To get involved, contact Sustainable Campus Initiative at

Paul Flemming: "Somebody Should Be Listening to FSU Professor"
Paul Flemming, State Editor of the Tallahassee Democrat
At the end of April, Professor Ian MacDonald looked at aerial images of the oil spill, ran some numbers and, on May 1, estimated that BP's Deepwater Horizon was blowing a minimum of 26,500 barrels a day into the Gulf of Mexico. At the time, BP was still grumbling about a government-suggested estimate of 5,000 barrels a day, preferring its own 1,000-barrels-a-day guess.
This week, government officials upped the oil-spill flow estimate to between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day, after cutting off the riser pipe increased the flow by an estimated 20 percent.
Professor Ian MacDonald
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"It's a case where more people should have been right," MacDonald now says.

MacDonald was involved last year in a drilling symposium sponsored by FSU's Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability, back when Florida's Legislature was hot to allow drilling in state waters. (I moderated the discussion). MacDonald got Martin Hovland, a professor at the
University of Bergen in Norway and a consultant with state-run Statoil, to participate. Hovland said then that improved technology had prevented blowouts since 1985. What Hovland didn't say was that deep-water wells in the North Sea and off Nordic shores are required to have remote control over blowout preventers like the one that failed on BP's Deepwater Horizon. 
The U.S. didn't require the same safety measures.

Read more

Adaption of an original story published June 18, 2010 in the Tallahassee Democrat by Paul Flemming

In This Issue
Clean Energy Congress Develops Policy Recommendations for Advancing Clean Technology in Florida
Economics of Sustainability Taught at FSU
"Does Florida Law Support or Hinder Siting for Biomass Power Plants?" - Special to the IESES Newsletter
FSU Begins to Benchmark Campus Sustainability Efforts
Awards and Recognition: Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Named
Farewell to Professor Mike Wetz
High-Energy Technology Research for U.S. Navy
FSU Student Government Prioritizes Sustainability
Join the Seminole Association for Sustainable Energy
Awards and Recognition:
Senior Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Named
Sanjeev Srivastava has been elevated to the grade of Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity. Pedro Ray,  President of IEEE, said in a letter "Senior Member is the highest professional grade of the IEEE and requires experience reflecting professional accomplishment and maturity.  Approximatley 8% of our 388,000 members have achieved this grade."   

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Dr. Srivastava, pictured above, is an Assistant Scholar Scientist within the Center for Advanced Power Systems at FSU and an IESES partner. 

Farewell to Professor Mike Wetz
Professor Mike Wetz, currently an Assistant Professor of Biological Oceanography at FSU,  has accepted a position with Texas A&M University.  Professor Wetz has been critical in advancing the Algae Biofuels
project within SABER - Systems Approach to Bio-Energy Research  at FSU. IESES wishes Professor Wetz the best of luck in his new position.  

Mike Wetz
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High-Energy Technology Research for U.S. Navy
Steinar Dale, Director of the Center for Advanced Power Systems
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The Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), in association with other researchers from FSU, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and the University of Texas-Austin, is working on a project entitled "Integration of Electro-Kinetic Weapons Into the Next Generation of Navy Ships". This four million dollar project is designed to provide future navy needs with high-energy technologies capable of supporting advanced sensors and weapons technologies.

According to Steinar Dale, one major focus is developing technologies for providing on-demand delivery of the large amounts of energy needed to operate these types of dynamic loads. Through this project, the team will be conducting system simulations and prototype tests in order to provide the Navy's shipbuilder with vital information needed to design integrated power systems and load power supplies for the next generation of naval ships. However, this is not limited to the Navy, as developments in these high-energy technologies certainly have broad implications for smart grid technology as well.
This project was funded by the U.S. Federal Government, see the testimony provided to the U.S. Senate subcommittee on defense by Dr. Raymond Bye Jr., Director of Federal Relations at FSU.

Dr. Dale is an IESES partner.

FSU Student Government Prioritizes Sustainability
by Chris Spencer, IESES Campus Liaison

With a total budget of close to $12 million dollars for the upcoming year, FSU Student Government Association (SGA) makes quite an impact on the daily lives of students and can also have an impact on the environment. Within the SGA Executive Office of the President, Brett Leone is the  Environment and Energy Secretary.  Brett is a double-major undergraduate in Environmental Studies and Geography

Brett is working to make SGA greener on campus. He has been working with the Campus Sustainability Initiative to tackle environmental issues around campus. He is a student representative to the AASHE Stars group at FSU (see the related article in this issue), and will be involved in the forthcoming Seminole Association of Sustainable Energy, the new student organization that IESES is launching this fall. 
Brett Leone
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Students! Join the Seminole Association for Sustainable Energy
  • Professional Development and Networking
  • Research Opportunities
  • Funding for Travel
  • Career Development Training
  • Stay in Contact with Seminole Association for Sustainable Energy as You and Your Colleagues Grow Professionally. 

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Also, federal work-study positions now being accepted and internships are available at IESES, contact Melanie Simmons at
A Report of the Proceedings of the Florida Symposia on Offshore Energy - Part I and Part II - is Online

Symposium view

Access the Full Report Here

This report is a transcript of the Symposia series including presentation materials, citations and executive summaries for both Part I and II.
Schedule of Tours of the Off-Grid Zero Emissions Building
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Which Dates: First and third Friday of the month
When: Tours begin on the hour between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM
Where: see Map
Contact: Justin Kramer at
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The Institute is a public resource. Here we carry out scholarly basic research and analysis in engineering, science, infrastructure, governance and the related social dimensions to further a sustainable energy economy. The Institute unites researchers from the disciplines of engineering, natural sciences, law, urban and regional planning, geography and economics to address sustainability and alternative power issues in the context of global climate change.
The Center for a Systems Approach to Bio-Energy Research;
The Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis;
The College of Business Center for Sustainability Initiatives;
The Center for Environmental Media Production and Research;
The Public Utility Research Center; and
The Florida Energy Systems Consortium.

Editor: Melanie Simmons at
FSU IESES Newsletter
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