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Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Oh, the frustration of so many years locked in to dirty oil.  We’ve wanted to quit stopping at the gas station but what were our choices?  Seemed like we’d never get off gasoline!  When the Japanese started introducing energy efficient hybrids, American car makers responded with SUVs.  What?  Were they responding to consumer demand or were they driving consumer demand to match low prices at the pump with higher income statements?  Will the BP oil spill finally bring us back to reality?

At last there is some notion of consensus going on among us consumers and the car manufacturers.  We the consumers, wishing so long for clean transportation, are now in a position to make a difference in transportation fuels and fundamentally change our energy infrastructure for the better.  Car manufacturers are actually offering us fuel options!

Ford, GM, Toyota, Mazda, Isuzu and Mercedes have flex-fuel vehicles for sale.  Ethanol is in our gasoline now.  The EPA is weighing whether to support an even higher ratio at the pump.  Flex-fuel vehicles will provide an even higher level of demand.  Their engines are designed specifically for the cleaner, renewable fuel.  The ethanol industry is ready to provide this fuel and Florida ethanol producers are especially going to be the beneficiaries.

Charles Bronson, Agriculture Secretary, has been convening stakeholders at his “Farms to Fuels” convention since 2006 preparing for this opportunity.  Yes, he sided with the off-shore drilling crowd, but he kept his farm fuels conventions on track and this up-coming August meeting couldn’t be more important.

Bruce Stephenson, professor of environmental studies at Rollins college, believes new housing construction may not be in just a temporary lull.  It could last for years, he says.  Bruce has followed the sprawling housing developments in Florida and translated them into large amounts of wasted energy and water.  The plus side of the housing recession is fewer greenhouse gases and and less pressure on landowners to sell farms or green space to developers.  The minus side is that home construction has been Florida’s biggest source of income and employment.

So what industries can replace construction and help stoke up employment?  The Florida biofuels industry is well positioned to move into that role.  County commissioners are listening to applicants who want to build ethanol and biodiesel plants.  Farmers are agreeing to plant energy crops to feed the plants.  A few years ago there wasn’t an E-85 pump in Florida.  We’re starting to see them now.  A new industry is developing in Florida and consumers can help build that industry by investing in the vehicles designed for the fuel.

Celebrate energy independence this Fourth by visiting a car dealership.  This is worth waving the flag!

Sam Kendall

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Twenty-nine states now have renewable energy portfolio standards (RPS) but Florida isn’t one of them.  The amounts vary from 15% in Massachusetts by 2020 to a high of 33% in California by 2020.  The governor has said he wants RPS and last year the Public Service Commission (PSC) presented a draft proposal to the state legislature.  The Senate endorsed the plan but the House went in the opposite direction and endorsed drilling in state waters instead.  Senator Lee Constantine has introduced a bill this year to ratify the PSC draft and you can read that draft here.

States started requiring RPS for good reasons:  fuel diversification and security, price competition leading to more stability, reduction of environmental issues associated with carbon based fuels, opportunities for new businesses and jobs.  Just the threat of RPS has some utilities doing the right thing.  For Florida, RPS would mean some portion of the money spent on energy supplies would remain circulating here in the state rather than being spent in coal states or oil nations.

On February 18, a Cleantech Symposium is scheduled in Orlando to discuss RPS issues within Florida.  You can read more about that here.

Sam Kendall

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The St. Lucie County Extension Office (U of F IFAS) will conduct a workshop exploring the potential for biodiesel feedstocks appropriate to that area of the state.  For information and registration click here.

Speakers will discuss the domestic and international biodiesel industry and provide information on feedstocks such as sunflower, jatropha and algae.  The biodiesel initiatives in Washington and Vermont will also be discussed.

Sam Kendall

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This conference includes Frank Leslie’s session on March 7th on Renewable (Sustainable) Energy from 2:00 p.m. until 4:20 p.m.

News Release
MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Tech will address smart growth and environmental sustainability at its fourth international, interdisciplinary forum, “Sustainable Pathways: New Research and Practices,” on March 6-7 on campus. The forum is a collaborative effort of the Florida Tech College of Business and

College of
Science, and Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME). The public is invited to attend. And additional sponsors are being sought.
“The forum will focus on practical solutions to emerging sustainability issues from business, science and socio-political viewpoints,” said Gordon L. Nelson, dean of Florida Tech’s

College of
Science. “It is designed to appeal to a varied audience and will offer the latest academic research and perspectives for practitioners and public policy makers.”
Speakers complementing Florida Tech and BME speakers will include Ken Lindeman, Environmental Defense Fund; Isabella Bunn, Oxford University;  Keith Winsten, Brevard Zoo; Laurilee Thompson, Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival; Duane E. De Freese, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute; Terry Gibson, Florida Sportsman Magazine; Mark Chatelain, Johnson Controls; William Broussard, Forever Florida; Bob Martinez, former Governor of Florida; Suzanna Hecht, UCLA and Princeton University; Frank Jackalone, Sierra Club, Florida; and Steven Seibert, executive director of the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida, to name a few.Sponsors include: Environmental Defense Fund, FP&L, Waste Management and Florida Institute of Technology.Online registration is available at http://research.fit.edu/sustainability/register.phpA conference registration fee of $85 entitles registrants to attend all daily sessions as well as luncheons. The fee is $25 for students. A separate fee of $45 covers a keynote dinner on the evening of March 6. For more information, and to register, contact Linda Ward at (321) 674-7573 or at lward@fit.edu.

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