Despite all the outcry about ethanol in the media, Florida is bucking the trend and establishing a renewable fuel standard, requiring ethanol to make up 10 percent of Florida’s total fuel supply by 2010.
Florida’s comprehensive “Green Energy” bill passed by the 2008 Florida Legislature last week includes a variety of other initiatives, prompted by Governor Charlie Crist, who praised the legislature for their work on the bill. “I’m very, very proud of the House and Senate in these difficult times they continue to move Florida forward and keep Florida green and make it even better,” Crist said.
There is a strong push in Florida to move toward producing more alternative crops for biofuels. The driving force behind that push has been Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson who says they are looking at a wide variety of alternative energy crops, especially those that can be grown using less water. “We have the capability of being on the ground first with real fuel,” he said. “Agriculture needs to be at the table when that process is put together.”
Bronson estimates that within ten years, Florida can produce three billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel, and he believes that can happen without impacting food production in the state. “What we need to do is keep our food production up and grow as a second or third crop these fuel crops,” he said.
Bronson’s department is busy planning the third annual Florida Farm to Fuel summit, which will be held July 30th – August 1st in Orlando. Among the topics that will be addressed is renewable fuels initiatives in the new state energy bill, the federal energy bill, and the farm bill and how Florida can play a role in meeting the demand.