Florida Energy Summit concludes with call for lower taxes, more innovation

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The 2013 Florida Energy Summit wrapped up Tuesday, a forum focused on one central topic — the what, where and how of Florida’s energy future.

The two-day conference in Orlando examined energy needs and how they relate to Florida’s three “economic pillars” – construction, agriculture and tourism.

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services hosted over 400 leaders of the energy industry, the academic world and all levels of government to consider innovation, research and education, as well as the role they play in the future of energy.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam kicked off the summit Monday with a series of proposals to reduce the energy taxes on businesses and consumers, cutting them in half within the next three years, saving nearly $250 million every year.

“That is money they can use to grow their business,” Putnam said. “That is money they can use to create jobs.”

The commissioner also called for reduced energy costs for businesses and consumers, developing an energy infrastructure with research and development. In addition, he suggested a Sales Tax Holiday Weekend for purchasers of Energy Star and WaterSense appliances.

Michael Levi, Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, delivered Tuesday’s keynote address. Levi offered an overview of U.S. energy history, present and future, as well as the political climate surrounding the energy industry.

The final panel discussion focused on two precious state resources — energy and water — and how Florida’s future success depends on them both. Next year’s summit, said Putnam, will focus on issues related to water.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.