Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam outlined his recommendations for the House Subcommittee on Energy and Utilities to consider for this session’s energy package, which included tax incentives, direction for the Public Service Commission (PSC) and efforts to streamline processes on renewable energy businesses.
“The objective of Florida’s energy policy should be to secure a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy,” said Commissioner Putnam. “We must create a climate that encourages new industry, encourages job creation and encourages the expansion of existing industries and existing technologies. My recommendations are designed to 1) increase diversity in Florida’s energy portfolio, 2) advance renewable energy production, 3) encourage the development of home-grown technologies and 4) promote energy efficiency.”
Currently, more than 50 percent of electrical energy generated in Florida comes from natural gas, while less than two percent of electrical energy comes from renewable energy.
“We must balance Florida’s energy portfolio by diversifying our energy supply. The Public Service Commission (PSC) should create a consistent framework for considering renewable energy proposals by establishing criteria and methods to evaluate their unique characteristics. Placing a value on renewable energy deems the renewable portfolio standard unnecessary.”
Commissioner Putnam suggested the utilities report the amount of renewable energy resources proposed, produced and purchased in Florida so that the PSC can determine how it will impact present and future capacity and energy needs.
“Many tax incentives adopted in recent years expired before the renewable energy was mature enough to take advantage of them. This proposal begins to advance renewable energy production by reinstating these tax incentives. I believe tax incentives will help us create the climate we need to attract investments and encourage private companies to build new facilities in Florida.”
His proposal included measures to reduce burdens on renewable energy businesses.
“While incentivizing the growth of renewable energy in Florida, we must also eliminate the burdens and barriers that currently block new entrance into this industry.”
Commissioner Putnam recommended measures to promote energy efficiency among utilities, as well as consumers. He suggested the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services should be a go-to resource for consumers to access information and guidance on energy efficiency.
“We should arm Floridians with good information and, with that information, they can make thoughtful decisions about their own energy investments and usage.”
Commissioner Putnam emphasized that legislative measures must be sensitive to the needs of the customer and the challenges of the current economic climate.
“My recommendations for energy policy this session are market driven, in the public interest and designed to have the least possible impact on the customer,” concluded Commissioner Putnam.