It may be hard for those of us fighting in the trenches to believe, but to
date Florida has focused on relatively easy technology solutions to energy
and climate chaos. The solutions we are now starting to implement statewide
- building efficiency, solar thermal and electric, biomass (wood and
grasses) electricity and using waste oils and corn liquor to blend slightly
cleaner liquid motor fuels have been relatively painless for society as a
whole and, thanks to Gov. Crist, are now actually being implemented in an
incremental, but very significant, way.
We have made fantastic progress compared to our situation prior to his
Thank you, Gov. Green.
But we have a long way to go. Now we must focus policy on implementing the
much more difficult solutions that will actually enable Florida meet the
2050 goals of 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Goals, by the way,
that are now endorsed not only by Governors Crist and Schwarzenegger, but
President-Elect Obama. To meet these ambitious goals we must actually follow
though and implement all these easy solutions. At the same time we must also
prepare to step up to even more difficult business and technical challenges.
The Gainesville City Commission today authorized our municipal utility to
implement a feed-in tariff (also called Renewable Energy Payment) for solar
electricity; the first utility in the United States to develop a REP. Policy
that empowers widespread deployment of affordable solar electricity is a
huge step towards zero-carbon energy systems. But the sun only shines for a
few hours every day.
We still need to find ways to store and distribute zero-carbon energy to
consumers when that energy is needed.
The electric utility industry is now engaged. The coal industry has
recognized the threat and is fighting to protect the status quo while doing
the R&D needed to store carbon dioxide from coal power plants underground.
The oil industry making money hand over fist; but while global chaos from
volatile oil prices devastates the global economy, the industry still fights
to protect the status quo. Drill baby drill and keep those oil tankers at
Agriculture is also engaged; producing and selling corn liquor has become a
huge, legal business. Unfortunately at $50 oil, it is tough to make a profit
with corn ethanol, let alone reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Arable land is
a valuable and finite resource that must also produce not only food and
animal feed, but fiber and building materials, to serve 6 billion people; it
is foolhardy to use our land to grow motor fuels if we cannot protect the
ecosystems that sustain the web of life for the entire planet.
While researchers seeking more efficient ways to produce food, animal feed,
fiber, building materials and now motor fuel are finally well funded, the
conflicts and competition among various vested interests for land and water
resources have just begun. Our six billion neighbors all would like to enjoy
the same quality of life as we do; and the global economy supported by
extremely efficient ocean and rail transportation systems now have given
every person living on this planet access to oil, not to mention the
financial and technical means to create a better life for their families and
America needs to make and keep a lot more friends. But I digress.
One major energy sector has been quietly sitting on the sidelines during
prolonged and contentious debates about climate chaos and peak oil; the
natural gas industry has been secure, almost smug, knowing they control huge
reserves of relatively clean fossil fuel - methane - and the means to bring
it to market. Natural gas pipeline construction is at all time high all over
the world. The good news is that domestic reserves of natural gas can now
meet demand for more than 100 years; global reserves of recoverable natural
gas are much larger than known or suspected oil reserves. While debates over
coal and climate have been raging, the natural gas industry has made massive
investments in technology and infrastructure to supply natural gas to
customers all over the United States and the world.
The driver for this investment is the fact that natural gas is an ideal fuel
to convert into cheap electric power. But even when used in the most
efficient way possible to make clean, reliable and cheap electricity, which
by is not the general rule in the power industry, natural gas power plants
still make huge quantities of carbon dioxide along with all that cheap
electricity. The more natural gas we burn, the more carbon dioxide we make.
And there is still the big question that plagues all fossil fuel sources -
what happens in 20, 30 or 40 years when natural gas, and oil, is no longer
so abundant or cheap; then what?
The national energy debate has focused almost exclusively on controversial
those energy sources that are widely used to make electricity -- nuclear,
solar, coal and oil. When oil hit $100 per barrel the debate shifted to oil
and liquid biofuels, corn liquor, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol. Nobody
on the national stage, except T. Boone Pickens, bothered to even mention
natural gas, let alone talk knowledgably about how natural gas
infrastructure can be used to bring zero-carbon energy to consumers. The
natural gas industry in Florida is quiet; perhaps even smug; comfortable in
their knowledge that methane is considered a low-carbon fuel by many experts
and that policy makers somehow believe the fable that increased uses of
natural gas to make electricity will somehow solve the greenhouse gas
This fable is false; continued exploitation of cheap fossil fuel reserves
without a long-term strategy for transitioning to low-carbon and zero-carbon
chemical energy carriers to replace fossil fuels is a policy that will
bankrupt society. Continued investment in any fossil fuel infrastructure
without regard to solving the greenhouse gas problem is a waste of
investment capital, not to mention labor, intellectual energy and the fossil
fuel resource itself.
We can do better; we must do better, if the US economy is to recover and
Industry and government leaders must start to figure out, for example, how
to leverage massive private sector investment in natural gas infrastructure
into making the highest and best use of that infrastructure to develop
renewable energy resources? Discounting the future and using this massive
investment solely to exploit abundant low cost natural gas to make cheap
electricity for the short-term is not just extremely short-sighted; it is
irresponsible. Continuing to promote cheap natural gas as the fuel of choice
for the manufacture of electricity will not only undercut the emerging solar
electricity industry, it will increase greenhouse gas emissions and stifle
innovation. We must find ways to convince government and the natural gas
industry that this low-carbon fuel must be used to achieve the maximum
possible greenhouse gas emission reductions in the shortest period of time.
Use of natural gas to make electricity when the sun does not shine is not
enough; it is a band-aide. Natural gas infrastructure must be made ready to
support widespread production and distribution of the only zero-carbon
energy carrier available -- hydrogen.
We need federal, state and local policy that will focus investment on
creating energy solutions that work across the entire economy. No sector
should be exempt. This is a tough political challenge; but it is only a
political challenge. It is not a technology challenge and it certainly is
not an economic challenge.
The collapse of the global economy was triggered by a rapid spike in oil
prices; the recovery of the global economy will now be fueled by "cheap"
I think society can survive continued dependence on "cheap" oil; we have the
talent, technology and money available to rebuild our energy infrastructure.
It is now time to tackle this job in ways that make electricity and hydrogen
our zero-carbon energy carriers of choice.
David E. Bruderly PE
Wise Gas Inc.
Clean Power Engineering
920 SW 57th Drive
Gainesville FL 32607-3838
From: Charlie Crist [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 2:47 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: A Special Message from Governor Charlie Crist, November 19, 2008
November 19, 2008
This week I join California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in co-hosting the
Governor's Global Climate Summit in Los Angeles. In spite of little movement
on the federal level, states are addressing this global challenge. Other
countries are also reducing emissions and taking steps to preserve
rainforests. By working together we can create a cleaner future for all.
I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger's call for international collaborative
action. In Florida, we too are committed to addressing this challenge. In
2007, I signed three executive orders with three goals: reduce greenhouse
gas emissions by 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, increase energy
efficiency and increase our use of renewable energy. To help us reach these
targets, I appointed a diverse group of environmental and business leaders
to create a plan of action. Their recommended strategies will create more
sustainable communities and a low-carbon economy while protecting Florida
The bipartisan, comprehensive energy and economic development legislation I
signed earlier this year is also moving Florida forward. Ethanol will make
up 10 percent of Florida's total fuel supply by 2010. We are also developing
a renewable portfolio standard, increasing our use of wind, solar and other
renewable energy - with 110 megawatts of solar capacity already under
construction. Florida is leading the Southeast in advancing a cap-and-trade
program, and new buildings will have to be 50 percent more efficient by
Entrepreneurs - along with a consortium among state universities - make up
Florida's green tech industry. Together, they will increase our use of
renewable and alternative energy and strengthen our economic future, while
also protecting our natural environment and decreasing our dependence on
Florida's rapid progress has become possible only through partnership
agreements with the United Kingdom and Germany, and with the help of my good
friend, Governor Schwarzenegger. Progress comes as we work together - not at
the expense of future economic growth - but as a necessity for the future
prosperity of all nations and states.
May God continue to bless Florida and secure our energy and economic future.
Receive Regular Updates from Governor Crist
I would like to keep you informed about actions my administration is taking
on climate change and environmental issues, as well as many other topics, if
you are interested. I invite you to click the link below and select the
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Thank you and God bless. It is a privilege and honor to serve you as
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please visit www.flgov.com and click on "Subscribe to Notes from the
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