Last summer, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill helped inspire a series of conferences dedicated to weaning the state off fossil fuels. Solar contractors called for policies that would encourage small-scale installations, like rooftop solar panels. Utilities called for incentives to develop large-scale projects, along the lines of a measure that failed last year. Renewable energy advocates called for policies that would do both.

This past winter, bills were introduced in the legislature that would have helped accomplish that.

So far this session, though, they’ve gone nowhere. The renewable energy bill that has advanced is now stalled amid concerns that it would essentially be a gift to Florida Power & Light. A Senate committee killed an amendment intended to promote distributed solar power and to encourage farmers to sell energy from small-scale biomass plants to the grid.

Now hopes for the utility-friendly bill are fading, amid concerns raised by the governor, some lawmakers and outside groups that the proposed unregulated rate increases would impose excessive costs on power customers. The Miami Herald is reporting that an amendment that would give the state’s Public Service Commission more oversight over the rate increases may not be enough to save it, and that its last hope may lie in the Senate, where it is one of dozens of items on next week’s budget panel agenda.

Meanwhile, new data from the Census Bureau shows Florida lagging other states in developing renewable energy.

The state gets less power from renewables than states like Georgia, Idaho, Alaska, Minnesota and Maine, and produces less than one tenth of California’s total. One reason is that Florida has few sources of hyrdo-electric power, by far the biggest chunk of the country’s renewable supply.

Another session may now be poised to go into the books without the legislature passing a bill that would encourage Florida to tap into the sources that are available here, like solar and biomass.

0 Shares:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Study finds Tallahassee, Miami tap water contains cancer-causing chromium-6

A report published Monday by the Environmental Working Group concluded that Tallahassee and Miami are among 31 U.S. cities it found to have the carcinogenic chemical chromium-6 present in its municipal tap water. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit said it conducted the study in part to encourage the EPA to establish standards for the toxic chemical in drinking water, which is currently unregulated.

Free Market Florida, Riverkeeper take to the airwaves to debate nutrient standards

The St Johns Riverkeeper's Neil Armingeon and Free Market Florida's Ryan Houck took to the airwaves to discuss the EPA's proposed numeric nutrient criteria on Wednesday morning. First Coast Connect, a Jacksonville news show on NPR affiliate 89.9, hosted the two for a 30-minute segment centered on the heavily debated criteria that would restrict pollution in state waterways.