Summiteers' Parting Shot: All Kinds of Energy, All of Them Needed
Around the State
Joined by a common interest in making energy a ferocious economic driver, a diverse collection of participants and attendees lingered in the hallway and meeting rooms, long after the 2012 Florida Energy Summit ended.
Despite their different areas of expertise, for the most part they were complimentary about the three-day event at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.
The sessions were good, they agreed, but in the words of more than one participant, "We got as much out of the networking as we did out of the sessions."
The post-Summit buzz centered around energy investment that used private dollars, not public funding. Attendees agreed generally that investing in energy could become the economic engine of modernizing the nation's infrastructure, investing in energy security, affordability and sustainability.
They agreed energy investment would benefit the U.S. economy in all 50 states -- not just in Florida -- in ways that lift the economic well-being of citizens from every level and every age in American society.
It will come down to very clear decisions and policy choices to move ourselves forward, they said.
Here's how some who attended critiqued the 2012 Florida Energy Summit:
Douglas A. Durante, executive director, Clean Fuels Development Coalition
... called it "a great event."
"Our technology requires a lot of educating the public and getting ideas from firms up against the same problems," said Durante, who is headquartered in Washington, D.C. "In that regard, the Summit was very successful."
Durante, who partnered with the Florida BioEnergy Association, is working to make the state aware of the gas stations throughout Florida that also offer ethanol -- often at a savings of $3 a gallon -- and the fact that many American cars made today run on gas and ethanol.
Said Durante, "A lot of people aren't aware that their vehicle might be one of the 10 million on the road today that can run either on gasoline or ethanol."
Tom Mueller, Covanta Energy Corp., Fort Myers
"We needed every legislator in Florida sitting right here in the audience at this Energy Summit," said Mueller. "We're putting 17 million tons of perfectly good fuel into the ground."
Through its state-of-the-art, waste-to-energy facility in Lee County, Covanta processes 1,836 tons per day of solid waste to generate up to 57.3 megawatts of renewable energy -- with approximately 50 megawatts sold to Seminole Electric Cooperative.
Stephanie Fidler, principal and senior consultant, Cardno Entrix, Riverview
"This has been a super-good meeting for us," Fidler said. "A lot goes on behind the scenes rather than just up on the podium."
Cardno Entrix is an environmental consulting and natural resources management firm. "We do a lot of permitting for biofuels companies," she said. "The energy bill passed last session (HB 7117) was important. The tax incentives are very important."
R. Dean Minardi, chief financial officer, Bing Energy, Tallahassee
"We're a relatively new company, so for us, this was an incredible networking event," said Minardi. "In two days I met stakeholders it would have taken me months to get anywhere near."
Bing Energy was founded in 2009 in California by a group of researchers, entrepreneurs and manufacturing professionals with the expressed goal of bringing state of the art, nano-technology benefits, to the fuel cell industry.
Minardi said the company moved its headquarters and production facility to Florida, will be adding more than 200 jobs, is working with Florida State University to build fuel cells and it received $1.9 million tax rebate from Florida's Qualified Target Industry program.
Minardi said he picked the Sunshine State over California, Illinois and Massachusetts because of Florida's "pro-employer" laws and Gov. Rick Scott's pledge to phase out the corporate income tax.
David E. Bruderly, Bruderly Engineering Associates Inc., Jacksonville
"This was an outstanding conference," said Bruderly, an engineer, consultant and entrepreneur.
"Until we get our energy policy right, we won't have the free markets we need," he said. "We have to get the motor fuel debate on the table. We have to diversify. The Chinese are beating our butts on this stuff."
David Mica, executive director, Florida Petroleum Council, Tallahassee
"I've been to all of these energy summits, all seven of them in one form or another, and this one was one of the best," said Mica. "The breadth of the agenda was extraordinary."
Mica, in his 26th year with the Petroleum Council, moderated an Energy Summit panel, "Where Does Our Fuel Come From?" He pointed out an "impressive" glossy guide published by ExxonMobil, "2012 The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040," as the no-nonsense look at where the fuel demands of the state and nation stand.
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