Florida Clean Energy Congress

WCTV, Tallahassee, FL

By: Mike Vasilinda

October 11, 2013

Florida is one of a handful of states without a comprehensive energy policy, but conferences this week and next hope to put the state on a path to energy independence.

Florida’s nickname is the Sunshine State, but it does nothing to incentivize solar. Wayne Wallace traveled to the Capitol from Largo this past week to push for an energy policy “We are one of maybe 12 states left who do not have comprehensive energy plan” says the Largo Solar Dealer.

Wallace wasn’t alone. Delegates from across Florida came to a Clean Energy Congress. Their goal: to push and embarrass policy makers into doing more to wean the state from oil. Frank Knapp came from South Carolina to advise businesses how to move the ball forward. “There’s not a whole lot of successing in the conversion to clean energy. It’s a struggle that we see in trying to move states to doing more solar, wind, and hydro” said Knapp.

When Florida offered solar rebates give years ago, the program was so popular it ran out of money. Participants had to settle for fifty cents on every dollar they were promised. The state Energy office was moved following the rebate debacle.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam got control of the office. He’s holding an energy summit that begins on Monday. “And, it’s my intention to have an energy bill this year. We moved the ball forward last year legislatively in terms of of the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel” says Putnam.

While Solar gets no incentives, lawmakers did decide to start paying part of the cost for businesses to convert their fleets to Natural gas. Companies can receive up to 25,000 dollars for each of ten vehicles they convert. In addition to rebates, the state also exempted companies converting to natural gas from fuel taxes for the next five years.

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