Renewable Energy Bill Passes Florida Legislature

John Davis

A comprehensive energy bill has passed the Florida legislature, and now goes to the governor for an expected signature.

This story from the Orlando (FL) Sun-Sentinel says the measure has provisions specifically addressing renewable energy in the state:

crist.jpgThe bill, which addresses Gov. Charlie Crist’s call for policies that combat global warming, is made up of 112 sections that could dramatically increase the state’s investment in renewable energy. The House passed the energy bill unanimously Tuesday and the Senate passed the House bill by a vote of 39 to1 Wednesday.

Among the changes proposed, the bill would require state buildings to meet specific “green energy” standards. That’s expected to cost more during construction but save the state money in the long run by increasing energy efficiency.

The bill would allow state regulators to set goals for individual utilities on how much renewable energy they produce and to fine utilities that don’t meet the goals and reward them if they do. Regulators would be required to consider the effect of utility customers’ rates when setting the goals.

Passage gained the praise of Crist:

“I want to thank Senate President Ken Pruitt, House Speaker Marco Rubio, Senator Burt Saunders and Representative Stan Mayfield for their leadership in securing Florida’s green energy future,” Governor Crist said. “Today’s vote signifies a commitment to protecting Florida’s natural beauty and stimulating our economy, as well as reducing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.”

The bill also assures accountability for the renewable energy with a state commission studying whether green fuels such as biodiesel, wind, and solar provide returns for the state’s investment in them.

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