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Archive for January, 2006

The energy plan Jeb Bush asked the Department of Environmental Protection to prepare is now available in pdf form on the Department’s website here.

The recommendations for solar and other renewables, though supportive, mention no specific targets or funding levels. So it appears we’ll have to wait for the next stage in the process to see how serious Bush is in his recent embrace of renewables.

Overall, it appears to be a step forward in the state government officially recognizing the importance of solar energy. But one particular statement in the Secretary’s Message raises concerns over how the administration hopes to effect change.

In developing its proposals, the Department adopted two guiding principles: reliance on markets and no new taxes. Instead of mandates, recommendations rely on the power of the marketplace, using targeted incentives and government’s purchasing power to stimulate the free market.

I’m wondering what basis they’re using to rely on this approach to achieve the needed results. In the energy industry, the free market has not developed the best track record in reducing foreign dependency, greenhouse gas emissions, or even consumer prices. It can certainly produce a quick, cheap hamburger. But introducing competing technologies in an environment dominated by well-entrenched utilities, I would think, will take more than an invisible hand.

Let’s hear your thoughts.

Craig Williams

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We are all anxiously awaiting the governor’s new energy plan hastily devised since the Department of Environmental Protection’s energy forum held in December. Jeb Bush’s comments at the forum were quite encouraging as he understandably admitted that our reliance on natural gas is economically foolish, considering projected future gas rates, and that solar was a viable alternative. Anthony De Luise, press secretary for the DEP, was upbeat about solar being included in Bush’s new energy plan in an article on naplesnews.com on January 11th:

Gov. Jeb Bush will be coming out with a revised energy policy Jan. 17 that will include incentives for everyday people to use solar power, said Anthony De Luise, press secretary for the state Department of Environmental Protection. He said he could not talk about the incentives because they are still in the works, but he said solar energy is definitely a component of the plan.

“Solar energy is an important alternative source of energy that is consistent with the department’s strategy for guiding the state’s energy future,” De Luise said.

Representative Trudi Williams, R- Fort Myers, also came out as a strong supporter of progressive solar legislation.

Craig Williams

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Representative Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) has recently filed a bill with the Florida House of Representatives that would establish some long-awaited incentives for solar energy in Florida. CFRES member Lee Bidgood of New Smyrna Beach contributed to the bill’s creation as noted in Friday’s press release from Hukill’s office. An online copy of the release has not yet been located.

The bill, if passed, would establish the following key elements:
-Funding of $1.2 million per year from the General Fund
-$4.00 per watt rebate for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed up to 100 kW, beginning July 1, 2006. Rebate declines $0.50 per year for 5 years.
-If solar equipment is manufactured in Florida, rebate would be $5.00 per watt, declining $0.50 per year for 5 years.
– Maximum rebate for a residential system is $20,000; for a commercial or public building system, $100,000.
-Bill would also support consumer education, protection, certification, etc.
-The Public Service Commission would establish rules for net metering with PV systems up to 100 kW.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

What are your thoughts?

Craig Williams

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Now in Session!

Welcome to the new blog CFRES has just set up for a place where all concerned Floridians can come and express their thoughts on the future of clean energy in Florida. We will be posting information and ideas from throughout the state on the development of the solar energy industry and other clean, renewable energy sources. We hope you will come often and contribute your thoughts and ideas to this important discussion. Feel free to offer suggestions, alert us to important stories, or just comment on other postings. But whatever you do, just be sure to participate. It’s only by sharing ideas and expressing them to our elected representatives can we ever hope to have an effective democracy that works in the public interest.

Craig Williams

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