ST. PETERSBURG — Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) Chairman Lisa Polak Edgar today addressed Florida's energy policy at the 2007 Farm to Fuel Summit in St. Petersburg. Chairman Edgar discussed the importance of renewable energy sources and Governor Crist’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, promote conservation, and encourage renewable energy use.
"Using renewable resources is an important part of a diversified fuel portfolio for Florida’s energy future," commented Chairman Edgar. "A balanced fuel supply—increasing the use of alternative energy sources while decreasing the dependence on fossil fuels—influences supply reliability and price stability for ratepayers."
Last week, Governor Crist signed three executive orders aimed at limiting carbon emissions from vehicles and power plants and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources.
Specifically, the orders request the PSC take the following actions:
Not later than September 1, 2007, initiate rulemaking to require that utilities produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources with a strong focus on solar and wind energy.
Not later than September 1, 2007, initiate rulemaking to reduce the cost of connecting solar and other renewable energy technologies to Florida’s power grid by adopting the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standard 1547 for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems as the uniform statewide interconnection standard for all utilities; and
Not later than September 1, 2007, initiate rulemaking to authorize a uniform, statewide method to enable residential and commercial customers who generate electricity from on-site renewable technologies of up to one megawatt in capacity to offset their consumption over a billing period by allowing their electric meters to turn backwards when they generate electricity.
The PSC has already taken a number of steps to promote the development of renewable energy resources. In January 2007, the PSC approved a rule requiring that investor-owned electric utilities provide standard offer contracts based on a portfolio approach for purchasing electricity from renewable generating facilities. These contracts give additional pricing options and aid financing for the developers of renewable generating resources. During the past year, the Commission authorized two negotiated power contracts with renewable generators totaling 120 MW.
Through the rulemaking process, the PSC is looking to remove obstacles for individuals and businesses wanting to use renewables to produce power for their own use. Informational workshops on expedited and standardized interconnection and net metering were held in April and proposed rule changes are being developed.
On July 26, the PSC will also hold a workshop to discuss renewable portfolio standards, a public policy approach to encourage renewable development by requiring utilities to generate a certain amount of their power from renewable sources. Currently, Florida uses renewable sources for 2-3 percent of its total energy supply.
Other panelists at the energy policy roundtable moderated by Krysta Brown included Senator Mike Bennett; Senator Lee Constantine; Mike Sole, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; and Tommy Boroughs, Chairman of the Florida Energy Commission.
The PSC is committed to making sure that Florida's consumers receive their electric, natural gas, telephone, water, and wastewater services in a safe, affordable, and reliable manner. The PSC exercises regulatory authority over utilities in the areas of rate base/economic regulation; competitive market oversight; and monitoring of safety, reliability, and service.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.