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Failed Energy Promises

May 5th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Despite being nick named the Sunshine State, Floridas dependence on oil, both domestic and foreign, is growing. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the last thirty years have been three decades of missed opportunity.

As early as 1980, then-governor Bob Graham was calling for tax breaks for solar energy.

If we do not change by the year 1990, every Floridian will have 25 percent less available energy,” Graham said.

But successes have been few and far between. Solar contractor Peter Rosen is measuring one of his last Florida buildings for a solar installation. Rosen plans on moving his company out of state after Florida ran out of money for solar rebates, leaving eight thousand people with a broken promise.

I could do solar anywhere in this country because there are federal rebates,” Rosen said. “Why not go to a state that is also going to subsidize it and make it a lot easier to sell.

A second failed promise is ethanol.

In 1980, the state legislature required that all gasoline sold be at least 10 percent ethanol. But then they did away with that requirement before it ever took effect.

Florida motorists burn 9 billion gallons of gas each year. Only one ethanol plant is under construction, yet Florida could get a full third of the motor fuel it needs from farmers.

We can make up to 3 billion gallons of alternative fuels here in Florida through agricultural productions,” Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson said.

But there are just 27 e-85 stations like this one in Florida. So as an oil slick inches its way to the coast, some like Bronson suggest we have only our own wasteful habits to blame.

This year legislation to boost spending on solar energy died in the legislative process.

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