Renewable energy gets push in Florida Legislature
The Miami Herald, Monday, January 12, 2009

"TALLAHASSEE -- Florida electric companies would have to rely on an
increasingly heavy mix of wind, solar and biomass to generate their
power over the next 11 years, under a proposed rule state regulators
voted to send to the Legislature late Thursday.

Calling their decision ''historic,'' the Florida Public Service
Commission unanimously voted to send the Legislature the proposal that
calls for 20 percent of their fuel mix to come from renewable energy
sources by 2020. They also agreed that consumers could be charged up to
3 percent more in order to jumpstart the market for the clean technologies

The commission's draft rule would require that 75 percent of the
renewable energy fee go to finance solar and wind production and 25
percent go to finance biomass production.

The Legislature can approve or reject the recommendation before the rule
takes effect.

The rule also recommends the following goals:

* 7 percent of the fuel used by power companies come from renewable
energy sources by 2013, 18 percent by 2019 and 20 percent by 2020;

* commissioners will review the goals every three years;

* penalties for companies that fail to meet the goals;

The vote was a victory for Gov. Charlie Crist who first recommended the
''20 percent by 2020'' standard and won plaudits from the environmental
and alternative energy industires. But PSC staff concluded last year
that that wasn't achievable until 2041. Florida got 3.6 percent of its
electricity from alternative energy as of 2007, the commission said.

The commission hired a private consulting company, Navigant, to conduct
a thorough study and market analysis. Navigant concluded that Florida
could reach at least 24 percent of its energy portfolio from renewable
energy by 2020 with the right incentives.

The commission also recommended that the Legislature exclude nuclear
energy from the 20 percent requirement, something Florida Power & Light
and other large utility companies fought hard to get."

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society