ISSUE: Should Florida's renewable energy legislation be amended.
DISCUSSION: Yes, Florida's renewable energy statutes should be amended to promote economic growth, economic development, job creation, Florida's economic and energy independence and long-term sustainability, and cost-effective development of renewable power in Florida.
Florida's current renewable energy statutes declare sound policy goals – e.g., as set forth in Section 366.92(1), Florida Statutes, “to promote the development of renewable energy; protect the economic viability of Florida’s existing renewable energy facilities; diversify the types of fuel used to generate electricity in Florida; lessen Florida’s dependence on natural gas and fuel oil for the production of electricity; minimize the volatility of fuel costs; encourage investment within the state; improve environmental conditions; and, at the same time, minimize the costs of power supply to electric utilities and their customers.”
In practice, however, Florida lags far behind other states both in renewable energy development and in energy independence. At present, Florida imports approximately 97 percent of the fuels (coal, natural gas, oil, and uranium) that are burned to generate Florida's electricity supply from outside the state, and for all practical purposes, Florida imports virtually 100 percent of our transportation fuels. This leaves Florida extremely vulnerable to volatility in world energy prices; remember that in the summer of 2008, gasoline cost more than $4 a gallon, and FPL and Progress Energy filed for mid-year increases in their “Fuel Cost Recovery Charges” of nearly $1 billion between the two of them. These simple facts mean that Florida “exports” very large amounts of dollars to purchase its energy. Developing Florida-based renewable energy resources and supplies will keep those dollars here in the state, keep more Floridians employed, and protect the state and our economy against the vagaries of wildly fluctuating world energy prices.
POSITION: The Florida Retail Federation supports policies and legislation that will promote Florida-based renewable energy in order to enhance Florida's energy independence and sustainability, promote economic growth and job creation in Florida, and promote cost-effective development of renewable energy resources through fair, transparent, market-driven competition in order to get the maximum bang for the bucks that we spend on renewable energy.
Executive Vice President
Randy is responsible for coordinating all aspects of FRF's government affairs efforts.
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