Energy Group Wants Legislature to Come 'Clean'
Around the State
Hoping to push lawmakers into a cleaner, renewable future, a new business group announced Thursday that it will convene a Florida Energy Summit July 8 in Orlando.
Citizens for Clean Energy -- a coalition of businesses, educational institutions and community groups -- will host the conference at the Orlando World Center Marriott. State Senate President-designate Mike Haridopolos will moderate discussions on clean energy and future energy policy.
“Clean energy can create more than 40,000 jobs in Florida starting today, but only if the Legislature acts now,” said Rich Paul-Hus, senior vice president of Hypower and a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Texas, Georgia and even New Jersey have strong clean energy policies that drew billions in investments and tens of thousands of jobs to those states," said Paul-Hus, who estimated that renewable-energy ventures could pump $8 billion into Florida's economy.
The Florida House passed a renewable-energy bill during the 2010 session, but the Senate did not take action on the measure that would have promoted and incentivized green power initiatives, with a heavy emphasis on solar.
Haridopolos blamed Gov. Charlie Crist for the continued failure to enact clean-energy legislation.
"The governor let it be known he was not supportive of it. The Senate knew it would not pass," he said.
Responding to speculation about a special legislative session to reconsider renewable energy initiatives, Haridopolos put the ball back in the governor's court.
"(Crist) has a repsonsibility to come up with a real agenda, not just play Monday morning quarterback," Haridopolos said.
“It is clear that we need to look at all energy options," said Josh Kellam, senior vice president of Global Energy United LLC, who said that sticking with the status quo will mean big hikes in Floridians’ energy bills.
The Florida Solar Energy Center, a research consortium representing several major Florida universities, estimates that the average Floridian’s electricity bill could increase by nearly $100 per month by 2018 without serious investment in efficiency and renewable energy now.
Advocates say the benefits of expanding the clean energy industry will extend to other areas of the state’s economy.
“The real estate market in Florida will only revive if there are jobs for potential homeowners here,” said Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners and developer of city of Babcock Ranch.
“That means we need to bring real, permanent and innovative industry to Florida. Clean energy is that industry, and what better place to develop it than in the Sunshine State?” Kitson said.
Organizers say the summit will bring together leading experts on solar power, energy efficiency, job creation and technology research and development. Admission is free, but the luncheon portion of the program will cost $75.
“I look forward to a thoughtful and thorough discussion at the summit, and hope that these discussions may lead to the development of meaningful alternative energy legislation in the upcoming legislative sessions,” said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island.
More information on Citizens for Clean Energy and the Florida Energy Summit is available here.
Contact Kenric Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 801-5341.