Renewable Energy Florida

Renewable Energy Florida – Not because it’s at the intersection of two interstates, Interstate 10 and 75. Instead, this small rural community of 70,000 people could be home to several solar energy companies. .

One of them is already up and running: the Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center. Florida Power and Light generates 74.5 megawatts, enough to light 15,000 homes, from an area along I-10 that sees tens of thousands of vehicles a day.

Renewable Energy Florida

“It sends a great message to the Sunshine State about the state’s commitment to the sun,” said Glenn Hunter, head of Columbia’s Office of Economic Development. “These solar arrays are the beginning of future technologies that energy companies can use on these properties that make more sense for small communities.”

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The irony, of course, is that politically blue renewable energy drives economic development in politically deep red rural Florida.

In 2016, President Trump won 70% of the vote. In neighboring Suwannee County, where Trump won 76 percent of the vote, FPL’s Echo River Solar Energy Center produces 74.5 megawatts of electricity from 330,000 of its 500 panels. hectares.

14 of the 14 solar plants that FPL has planned, or plans to develop, are in districts that Trump won, 13 of them in Baker County, where Trump won 81. % of the votes, up to the district of Hendry, which was carried by the president. Less than 55% voted.

For Hunter, investing in renewable energy isn’t about the politics of blue or red elections, it’s about positioning the province for the future development of electricity generated by the sun.

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“We’re a green area,” he said, adding that another item on his to-do list is attracting recycling facilities.

Advocates of renewable energy say they hope they will bring green energy benefits to the country’s red-light areas and curb climate change.

“One might say that it is impossible to get the right to identify the science of climate change, because it is deeply rooted in their politics,” he said. Steve Melink, conservative and author

In reality, Florida has nothing to lose and much to gain from a renewable energy economy.

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Another hurricane, Delta, hit the Gulf Coast on Friday, reminding Floridians how vulnerable they are to storm surges due to warming and rising seas. Conversely, the state does not have a coal-mining industry at risk of major job losses due to the phase-out of fossil fuels for power generators and turbines.

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Instead, the solar industry is a promising job creator, advocates say. A survey shows that solar installation jobs — installing panels and building roofs on buildings — in Florida pay a median annual salary of $70,298, with a range of $58,138 to $86,950.

“Look at all the wind projects being built in Texas and other red states … and look at the solar farms in Florida,” Melink said. “You have more renewable energy than Florida and the fossil fuel industry. Oh, Florida is the Sunshine State, it’s not an oil or coal state. It’s the way of the future.”

On the contrary, says Melink, the bitter 2000 presidential election in Florida was one of the sources of the liberal-conservative divide on climate change.

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Meylink noted that Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, who had been among conservatives as President Bill Clinton’s running mate, has become another standard-bearer for Republicans. Florida 20 years ago when he contested the election results, making the state the center of ridicule and ridicule. Hanging chad and butterfly votives.

Ten years later, Gore became a leading advocate of what was then called “land sports,” winning an Oscar for his 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” As a result, Meylink says, Republicans have been as hostile to climate change as Gore himself.

In this week’s vice presidential debate, Republican Vice President Mike Pence echoed conservatives’ disdain for the Paris climate accord and the progressive Green New Deal. Pence, like Trump and his campaign surrogates, has given his full support to the pursuit of an oil-based economy.

To be sure, solar advocates in Florida have complained for decades that the rollout of solar installations has been inexplicably delayed because of the Sunshine State’s convenience.

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Alyssa Jean Shaffer Energy and Policy Institute reports that FPL, the largest company in Florida, sent to state regulators indicates that solar power will reach 15% of total energy production in end of this decade.

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“It’s much lower than it could have been and what it should have been,” he said of solar yields in general. “Utilities are talking to investors about the efficiency of solar and renewable energy on their calls, but we’re not seeing it at the level we want and need. In terms of one, we do. Florida is very dependent on fossil fuels, especially natural gas. , And that can be a financial disaster.”

Government agencies have chosen natural gas over oil and coal for their power turbines, as it is a cleaner fuel that allows them to reduce emissions. But Shaffer warned that natural gas and fossil fuels could be subject to price volatility due to political and market disruptions around the world, another factor in the solar campaign.

FPL said in a statement that it “leads one of the largest solar installations in the United States while continuing to have the lowest consumer bills in the country.” The company is on track to install 30 million solar panels and 28 solar power plants by 2030. An additional 14 plants are currently under construction with output of 1,972 MW.

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But Schaefer said the state’s power utility continues to follow public sentiment, which he said connects the “dots” between the state’s threat from hurricanes and storm surges and the need to depend on fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas.

“We know and the science tells us that the water is getting warmer as the climate changes and we’re seeing more extreme events every year,” Shafer said. “You see on the news that there’s another 100-year hurricane and it certainly happens more than once in a century. People are starting to connect the dots.”

Shaffer said that like any technology, from cell phones to HDTVs, solar production costs are decreasing as global usage increases. There’s no reason agencies, regulators, businesses and the public shouldn’t attack more use, he said.

“That’s what we’re seeing as solar becomes more popular and people realize, ‘Hey, this is something we need,’ because temperatures are warming and we’re dealing with these extreme events … And here in America, too, he said.

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Shaffer said solar will not become a major energy source without large scale utilities, communities and rooftops. However, this will not be possible if the regulators of public companies do not require it and establish a policy to encourage it.

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“Unfortunately, in terms of importance, it’s about having your cake and eating it too,” Shaffer said. “They can take advantage of the popularity of solar and build these jobs on the one hand and get all the PR benefits, but on the other hand, they’re still investing in natural gas.”

But Hunter, of Lake City, Fla., said FPL’s involvement in its community goes beyond public relations.

For starters, he said the Juneau Beach-based facility helps boost the economy and immigration in his area.

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“In terms of resources, they help us promote in a way that we may not have, to promote ourselves because of our size and strength,” he said, adding that FPL is building relationships with manufacturing and distribution companies. Religion. It is the meeting point of North-South and East-West states.

Second, FPL is working with Charter to plan for the energy needs of the next decade to accommodate this growth, including solar energy farms.

And third, property taxes paid for land use investments allow municipalities to provide additional water and sewer lines to facilitate commercial and residential development, as well as use of electric vehicles and other innovations.

“You cannot build this infrastructure and spend millions of dollars and expect them to come,” he said. “You have to do what you’re going to do.”

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Huntera added that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has noticed and allocated $20 million to $25 million to help the municipality move forward with its development strategy.

“The most difficult plan is that each step takes you higher and has a purpose. And we will do it,” said Hunter. “That’s it

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