Florida Renewables Key to 2008 Climate Summit

TALLAHASSEE, Florida, April 30, 2008 (ENS) – Florida Governor Charlie Crist today announced the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change. This is the second such summit convened by the governor, who says that since last year’s summit, Florida’s “green” economy has grown.

“Florida’s businesses continue to demonstrate that there is gold in green, and climate-friendly energy sources – like ethanol and solar energy – are bringing new prospects for our state,” said Governor Crist.

“Encouraging companies to do business the green way as well as building a strong market in renewable energy technologies in the Sunshine State will strengthen our energy and economic future and protect our natural environment for generations to come,” he said.

The 2008 summit will focus on stimulating economic development in clean technologies as well as greening Florida’s business community.

Testing solar modules at the Florida Solar
Energy Center (Photo courtesy NREL)

Building on the policy framework of the executive orders signed at the 2007 summit, this year’s summit focuses on developing Florida’s renewable and alternative energy industries.

On July 13, 2007, Governor Crist signed three executive orders to reduce Florida’s greenhouse gases emissions, increase energy efficiency, and remove market barriers for renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind energy.

By encouraging companies to invest, the governor intends to transform Florida’s energy marketplace to enhance fuel diversity, lessen dependence on foreign sources of oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The FPL Group, one of the largest utilities in the country, has a number of solar and wind energy projects across Florida, including a $2.4 billion investment in a 300 megawatt solar facility.

Also, during the governor’s trade mission to Brazil last year, a $183 million agreement was signed between Renewable Fuels of Tallahassee LLC and Controlsud International Group to build a system that converts trash into energy in Tallahassee.

As a sign that his policy is working, the governor pointed to a partnership between Progress Energy Florida and Biomass Gas & Electric, BG&E, of Atlanta to build in northern Florida the largest waste-wood biomass plant in the nation for conversion of waste wood to electricity.

The partnership actually began in 2006, before Governor Crist took office.

It was expanded in December 2007 when Progress Energy Florida signed a contract with BG&E to purchase electricity from a second waste-wood biomass plant planned for Florida. It would be identical to BG&E’s waste-wood plant announced in July. Progress Energy Florida agreed to buy the output of that plant as well.

The plants will take waste wood products such as yard trimmings, tree bark and wood knots from paper mills and use a gasification process to create electricity.

Each BG&E plant is expected to generate about 75 megawatts, or enough electricity to power 46,000 homes. Each plant is expected to avoid the need to burn nearly five million tons of coal over the 20-year life of the power purchase contracts.

Projected commercial operation of the first plant is expected to begin in January 2011, while the second plant is set to come online about six months later.

“We are very pleased to expand our relationship with Progress Energy Florida, providing clean and sustainable energy resources to assist with the state’s future power needs,” said Glenn Farris, president and CEO of BG&E. “Through the leadership of companies like Progress Energy, the state of Florida continues to lead the Southeast – and the nation – in the promotion of clean, alternative energy for the production of electricity.”

The Florida Public Service Commission approved the contract in February. “This renewable energy project helps create a diverse, efficient, and affordable energy supply, which is vital for Florida’s economy and quality of life,” said PSC Chairman Matthew M. Carter II. “Promoting the growth of renewable energy will create greater energy and economic security for Florida.”

Progress Energy Florida also has a proposal before the Public Service Commission to construct two nuclear-fueled generating units at a new energy complex in Levy County. The new complex would be located about 10 miles north of the company’s Crystal River Energy Complex and eight miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s west coast.

The 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change will bring together industry leaders, policy makers, academics, scientists, environmentalists and the business community to explore opportunities for expanding Florida’s renewable and alternative energy marketplace and greening the business community.

The Summit on Global Climate Change will be held June 25-26, at the Intercontinental Miami.

On October 1, the Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change, established by executive order at last year’s summit, is due to submit its Phase II Report. It will provided further recommendations for strategic investments and public-private partnerships to spur climate-friendly economic development opportunities in the state.

To read the Action Team’s Phase I Report, click here [www.dep.state.fl.us].

For more information on the 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change, or to register for the conference, visit: www.myfloridaclimate.com.

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