Renewable portfolio standard is needed for renewable energy in Florida

You may remember that the bill required each electricity provider, with the exception of municipal utilities and rural cooperatives, to supply an unspecified amount of renewable energy to its customers. Later action by the governor, Executive Order 07-127, required utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable resources.

The PSC did what it was required to do under this legislation by developing a recommended renewable portfolio standard, yet House Leadership squandered its opportunities. As the Ranking Democrat on the Energy & Utilities Policy Committee, I pleaded with the speaker's office to follow the 2008 legislation and either adopt the PSC’s recommendations or produce our own RPS, to do something - anything - that would require increased production of energy from sources such as solar, wind, biomass, or geothermal. No legislation was even introduced in the House.

Even in the Senate, normally the more thoughtful body, the opportunity to create and invest in renewables was diminished by a “clean” energy standard which included nuclear power and coal gasification.

Discussion of an RPS must begin during this fall's committee meetings, or Florida's environment and our opportunities to create a new, green economy will continue to suffer.

Florida, in light orange-yellow on the Dept of Energy map, above, joins some other states without renewable portfolio standards to require renewable energy production.

We are long overdue for a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in this state (a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal). According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, we are not only the most populated state without one, but we are joined by the likes of Alabama,

Mississippi, and several other states not known for their progressive agendas.

In 2008, Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation which required the Public Service Commission (PSC) to develop a renewable portfolio standard by February 1, 2009, which then had to be adopted by the legislature before being implemented.

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