Category Archives: Energy

Advocates tell Florida to go green

Advocates are urging state lawmakers to embrace policies that expand solar activity in order to increase government revenue.

The Florida House recently backed a bill that uses tax breaks and loans to provide an incentive for the use of renewable energy; a similar measure heads to the state Senate this week.

A study by solar company Global Energy United concluded the state could add billions of dollars to government coffers by passing this legislation. The study showed renewable energy measure could help Florida diversify its economy away from real estate and tourism.

States with similar clean energy measures have realized more than $280 million in private investments.

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NASA joins FP&L in solar venture

Space just got a little brighter.

NASA joined Florida Power & Light Company to commission the Space Coast Next Generation Solar Energy Center. The new solar photovoltaic power facility is the result of a unique public-private partnership between NASA and FPL and demonstrates both organizations’ commitment to bringing clean-energy solutions to Florida.

The Center is located at Kennedy Space Center and is producing an estimated 10 megawatts of clean, emissions-free power, which is enough energy to serve approximately 1,100 homes. Continue reading

An all-consuming Florida

Last month, I did a post on Tampa Bay ranking at the bottom of the “Green Cities” list.

Turns out, Florida (as a state) doesn’t fare so well either. It ranks third in overall energy use nationwide, only behind Texas and California. The report was issued by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority, which looked at both energy use and energy efficiency.

New York is the second most energy-efficient state in the United States on a per-capita basis, behind Rhode Island. The least-efficient states are Wyoming and Alaska, ranked 50th and 51th, respectively. The study includes Washington, D.C.

Legislative update

The clean energy movement is all but stalled in the Florida Legislature as efforts to encourage clean energy are losing steam.

With only a couple weeks left in the legislative session, the prospects have vanished for a renewable-energy standard that would force the state to clean up the way it produces power.

Instead, efforts are focused on the crusade for oil and gas exploration three to 10 miles off Florida’s coast. Rep. Dean Cannon, a Winter Park Republican believes the most cost-efficient energy policy would support domestic development of oil and gas along with more nuclear power plants and development of the market for alternative fuels.

Read more about the clash of ideologies in this Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times special report.

High speed away

This is a Climate Progress repost of excerpts about the future of America’s  high speed rail system.

Last year, President Obama laid out a vision for high-speed rail,   jump started by the $8 billion stimulus to decrease  dependence on foreign oil and  reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Critics worry that a high speed rail system will encourage sprawl and have a significant impact on parks and wildlife refuges. Yet there have been no links established between existing HSR stations in France and Spain, for example, and an epidemic of suburban growth. In fact, sprawl could be a thing of the past if we take preventative measures to encourage urban density, enact antisprawl regulations, and make it convenient to travel to outlying HSR stations with plenty of garage parking.

HSR systems would take advantage of existing transportation corridors to minimize intrusion onto protected nature reserves, decrease air pollution generated by internal combustion engines in cars, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The California HSR, for example, will remove 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 because it uses electricity generated from wind, solar, and other renewable resources. In addition, California’s HSR will save 12.7 million barrels of oil by 2030.

If the United States is going to have a world-class rail system, however, it needs to focus on the “speed” part of HSR. President Obama said on January 27, 2010, “there’s no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains.” Yet plans for a network in the United States indicate that U.S. HSR trains will be slower than their European or Asian counterparts. European HSR trains operate in excess of speeds of 180 mph, but the U.S. HSR train speeds vary from express routes that serve major population centers traveling at least at 150 mph to regional routes at 110-150 mph to developing corridors topping out at 90-110 mph on tracks shared with regular rails.

What’s in a name?

A lot, apparently.

FPL Group, Inc. is changing its name to NextEra Energy, Inc. in an effort to highlight the company’s commitment to clean energy development. The company said the change also will help distinguish between the group and its utility subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company.

FPL is one of the largest renewable energy providers in the country, claiming a carbon dioxide emissions rate that is 50% below the industry average. However, they also own traditional and nuclear power plants.

SPC to soak up sunshine

This is a Creative Loafing repost.

St. Petersburg College will begin installing its first photovoltaic system on the Clearwater campus today.

The system, which will generate renewable power for the electrical grid, will be installed on the roof of the LEED Gold Natural Science, Mathematics and College of Education building, already one of Tampa bay’s most environmentally friendly buildings. Installation should take about a week.

“The 3.5 kilowatt thin-film solar blanket will be the first commercial installation of the new generation of solar collection systems installed in this area,” said Jason Green, SPC Sustainability Coordinator. “The installation demonstrates St Petersburg College’s dedication to finding solutions to the global warming issue.” Continue reading