Make us your home page
Instagram

Florida PSC backs Crist's renewable energy plan

Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday won an important victory in his plans to slash Florida's greenhouse gas emissions and boost renewable energy.

The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously agreed to require the state's utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020, resisting industry efforts to weaken Crist's goal. The vote sets the agenda for state legislators, who will have the final say later this year.

"That's great!" Crist said, when told about the targets Friday evening in Miami. "I am overjoyed. I praise their courage."

The vote marked a milestone in the energy initiatives Crist first announced in 2007. The commission had considered proposals with deadlines as late as 2050, which won support from utilities and outrage from environmentalists. On Friday evening, the commissioners decided that only an aggressive target would spur the state's energy industry into action.

"I have always insisted that it needed to be 20 by 2020 if we're going to get real," said Commissioner Nancy Argenziano.

The targets are a sharp change of course for a state that gets less than 3 percent of its power from renewable energy. The proposal calls for 7 percent renewable energy by January 2013, 12 percent by 2016, 18 percent by 2019 and 20 percent by end of 2020.

"I see it as a stretch goal, but I also see that as part of the purpose," said Commissioner Lisa Polak Edgar.

Environmentalists spent months trying to counter lobbying by utilities to include "clean" coal and nuclear power in the renewable definition. They had decried the drawn-out time lines as timid, and pushed the commission to stick with the 2020 goal. On Friday, they reacted with delight.

"This is a tremendous victory," said Jerry Karnas, Florida climate project director for the Environmental Defense Fund, who commended the commissioners. Now, the Legislature must be persuaded to follow their lead, he said.

"We're thrilled with the time line and targets," said George Cavros, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "We think those targets will drive renewable energy in Florida and create green jobs in Florida."

The proposal includes consumer protections to limit electric rate increases, and carves out a slice of the goal that must be met with wind and solar power. It bars "clean" coal from the definition, but opens the door to the possible inclusion of new nuclear power in a modified "clean energy" goal supported by Progress Energy and Florida Power & Light. Both utilities plan to build nuclear plants in the next decade.

Times staff writer Craig Pittman contributed to this report. Asjylyn Loder can be reached at aloder@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3117.

Florida PSC backs Crist's renewable energy plan 01/09/09 [Last modified: Sunday, January 11, 2009 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pinellas licensing board asks Sen. Jack Latvala for $500,000 loan

    Local Government

    The troubled Pinellas County agency that regulates contractors wants Sen. Jack Latvala to help it get a $500,000 lifeline from the state to stay afloat.

    State Sen . Jack Latvala, R- Clearwater, is being asked to help the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board get $500,000 from the state so it can stay open beyond February.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally

    Business

    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.
  3. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  4. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  5. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]