| Florida on Cusp of Solar Victory or Missed Opportunity: Stay Tuned March 3|
| Climate bills that will enhance Florida's coastal and energy resiliency were racing through their committees this week. SB 0178 Public Financing of Construction Projects by Senator Rodriguez (D-Miami) unanimously passed Senate Appropriations, its last committee of reference. This bill requires a sea-level impact projection study for all state-financed construction projects. Its House companion, HB 0579 by Representative Aloupis (R-Miami), was referred to its last committee stop, State Affairs.|
HB 7099, Essential State Infrastructure, sponsored by Representative Ingoglia (R- Springhill), and its companion SB 7018 sponsored by Senator Lee (R- Brandon), have barreled through their committees of reference and cleared their final committees this week. These bills require the Department of Transportation, in coordination with other entities, to develop and adopt a master plan for Electric Vehicle charging stations on the state highway system. These bills would allow public and private linear facilities to cross conservation easements (Rural and Family Lands Protection Plan) and fast track permits for electric utilities in public rights-of-way.
Recently, climate advocates like Audubon and utilities alike anxiously awaited the Public Service Commission (PSC) staff determination on Florida Power and Light’s SolarTogether program. If approved, it would be the country’s largest community solar program, adding 20 new solar plants generating 1,490-megawatts of clean, solar energy, and giving consumers the ability to choose renewables over fossil fuels. Unfortunately, PSC staff recommended denial of the program, placing in jeopardy the future of this proposal. On March 3, 2020, at the PSC’s post-hearing posture meeting, the Commissioners and staff will review the recommendations before a final order is determined. Here’s hoping more forward-thinking heads prevail on this decision to move Florida towards a lower carbon future.