Advertisement
  1. Business

St. Petersburg lawmaker seeks major changes to Florida energy policy

“Florida is in the Stone Age” with its energy policy, Dudley says.
“Florida is in the Stone Age” with its energy policy, Dudley says.
Published Jan. 10, 2014

A St. Petersburg lawmaker wants to end the public utility monopoly on selling power to consumers, as well as open competition for development of renewable energy in Florida. If successful, the move could ignite a wave of solar power installations in the state.

Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, is proposing two constitutional amendments that would repeal the 2006 nuclear cost recovery clause — which forces customers to pay in advance for nuclear power projects that may or may not get built — and create a market to allow renewable energy producers to sell directly to consumers.

Dudley is drafting House resolutions for the two proposed amendments and also plans a citizens' ballot initiative if the Legislature does not act. Both have enormous hurdles: The Legislature generally acts to preserve the utilities' monopoly control in Florida; getting a citizens' initiative on the ballot would require more than 600,000 signatures.

Current Florida law prohibits any entity other than utilities from selling power directly to consumers.

That law has hampered the expansion of solar energy among retailers, the military and industrial power users.

Owners of a mall, for instance, could not install solar on the roof and sell that power to tenants. A military base with solar could not share power or experience cost savings at another nearby facility.

Other states have adopted renewable energy portfolio standards or energy policies that enable more widespread development of solar and wind energy.

Florida has no significant renewable energy policy and is quickly falling behind Georgia and North Carolina in the Southeast as well as New Jersey, Massachusetts and Vermont in the North.

"When it comes to energy policy, Florida is in the Stone Age," Dudley said. "How is it that New Jersey is ahead of the Sunshine State when it comes to renewables?

"Twenty-nine states have adopted renewable portfolio standards and eight others have renewable energy goals," he said. "A majority of the country is incorporating technologies like solar, wind and biomass because they make economic sense."

Dudley is part of a work group organized by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor that is seeking ways to revamp Florida energy policy with an eye toward renewable energy.

"Floridians will welcome the competition," said Susan Glickman, a lobbyist from the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. "Florida lawmakers have allowed energy policy to lock out solar as a resource."

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the state's point person on energy matters, has told solar proponents that "we're not going to follow other states' leads."

Putnam did not immediately respond to request for comment about Dudley's proposal.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Mike Bishop joins Pasco EDC staff. [Pasco EDC]
    News and notes on Pasco businesses
  2. Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
    News and notes on Hernando businesses
  3. A beer is pictured in the outdoor games area of Park & Rec on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 in St. Petersburg. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The Towers of Channelside condo association has filed a lawsuit against the bar, as residents complain about noise.
  4. Yacht StarShip, a dining and water taxi company, has added the Lost Pearl pirate ship to its fleet just in time for Gasparilla. [Yacht StarShip]
    After years entertaining tourists in Virginia Beach, the Lost Pearl is settling into its new Tampa Bay home.
  5. Bank OZK CEO and chairman George Gleason, left, and managing director Greg Newman are photographed at the OZK Wynwood branch in Miami on November 13, 2019. [CARL JUSTE | Miami Herald] [Carlt Juste | Miami Herald]
    In fact, Bank OZK has emerged as a powerhouse in commercial lending generally.
  6. Flooding from an October king tide in Miami Shores fills streets, sidewalks and driveways at its peak. [Miami Herald]
    And it could lose up to 35 percent of its value by 2050, according to a new report.
  7. Delta Air Lines said Friday it will launch five new round-trip routes a day between Tampa and Miami starting May 4. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) [MARK LENNIHAN  |  AP]
    Delta says the daily nonstop Miami service will create new connections for Tampa travelers to fly to Latin America and other international destinations.
  8. The Undercroft — the new home to a branch office of TheIncLab, an artificial intelligence firm — provides work space for several cybersecurity companies in one of Ybor City’s most historic structures, the El Pasaje building on E Ninth Avenue. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times [Richard Danielson]
    The Washington, D.C.-area company expects hiring 15 developers and engineers in the next twelve months and partnering with bay area universities to augment its staff with student interns.
  9. FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo Amazon packages move along a conveyor prior to Amazon robots transporting packages from workers to chutes that are organized by zip code, at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Cashless shopping is convenient, but it can be a budget-buster. This year, make it more difficult to spend money online. This could help cut out some of your impulse purchases. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File) [ROSS D. FRANKLIN  |  AP]
    Here are some tips to avoid wasting money when you shop.
  10. Lori Baggett, managing partner of Carlton Fields in Tampa. [Carlton Fields]
    The Carlton Fields firm announced her promotion earlier this month.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement