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Archive for March, 2006

This has to qualify as the news story of the day. Progress Energy has just released a report in which it acknowledges the problem of global climate change and advocates a national plan to address it. The official press release can be found here.

What’s interesting is that the study that produced the report was undertaken due to pressure from shareholder groups. It’s a good example of how organized shareholder movements have been successful in directing corporate boards toward a more responsible course.

– Craig Williams

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You may just have waterfront property and not know it. Check out this article in the New York Times on melting polar ice.

– Craig Williams

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Brooksville resident Dallas Dunlap stated a nice, eloquent case against drilling off Florida’s beaches in his letter to the Hernando Today newspaper.

– Craig Williams

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When looking at what Jeb Bush has proposed for his technology-based economic development plan, you would think that solar energy must be some kind of technological stepchild. He’s recommending that $630 million of the budget surplus go to develop a variety of technology-based programs while the solar industry is chomping at the bit to move into Florida. The $2.5 million solar rebate program is all that’s being proposed for a technology that, if supported, will not only build an industry and create jobs, it will help us solve our energy problems.

Craig Williams

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Ann Bartuska, deputy chief for research and development for the US Forest Service, will be giving a lecture at the University of Florida in Gainesville on March 28th. Her topic is “Why Biomass is Important – The Role of the Forest Service in Managing and Using Biomass for Energy and Other Uses.” For more details, click here.

Craig Williams

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It’s good to look at renewable energy programs in other states while considering what a reasonable program should look like in Florida. I hope to be posting figures from several states soon. But right now I’ve got some numbers from New Jersey. I thought New Jersey would be a good place to start since it has one of the best solar programs in the country and the cost of electricity, considering the full range across the country, is closer to Florida’s cost than most of the other solar states.

New Jersey uses a societal benefit charge collected on each electric bill to fund their Clean Energy Program. 75% of the fund is targeted for energy efficiency programs and the remaining 25% goes to renewable energy projects. In 2003, the fund budget was $124 million. I haven’t been able to find more recent figures for total fund amounts. But following are figures from recent years on amounts used for solar rebates:

2002 $2.6 million
2003 $3.4 million
2004 $10.9 million
2005 $26.6 million

Here are a few demographic numbers to help compare the two states.

2004 Population (from StateData.info):
Florida – 17,397,161
New Jersey – 8,698,879

Total Energy Consumption (from 2001 DOE information):
Florida – 4,134.8 trillion Btu
New Jersey – 2,500.4 trillion Btu

Jeb Bush’s proposal for a solar rebate program in 2006 is $2.5 million. I’ll let you do the math.

Craig Williams

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Florida Power & Light recently announced plans to install 250 kilowatts of solar panels over a landfill in Sarasota. This is part of their Sunshine Energy plan where customers sign up to pay $9.75 more per month on their electric bill to help purchase clean, renewable energy. So far they have 23,000 customers signed up. It’s a good indication of what people are willing to pay for cleaner energy.

Craig Williams

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