Floridians Take a Critical Next Step Toward Reliable and Clean Electricity

Last Friday, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), informed via memo from PSC Staff, unanimously agreed to move forward with a comprehensive Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) rule requiring investor-owned utilities in the State to acquire at least 20% of their electricity supply from renewables by 2020. NRDC and it's Southern Region partner, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), worked to keep the FL PSC Staff and Commissioners well-informed to remain on the correct path. Florida Governor Charlie Crist and his dedicated staff deserve much credit as well, holding firm to the bold and sweeping set of executive orders and introduction of important bills in the FL legislature that began in 2007 and addressed global warming, clean fuels, energy efficiency, and renewable energy development through measures such as this RPS. 

But wait! 

We're not done just yet.  The next step for the RPS rule is to get final ratification in the Florida legislature.  I sure hope that the legislature holds to the original intent of the RPS:

 366.92 Florida renewable energy policy.--

 (1) It is the intent of the Legislature

  • to promote the development of renewable energy;
  • protect the economic viability of Florida's existing renewable energy facilities;
  • diversify the types of fuel used to generate electricity in Florida;
  • lessen Florida's dependence on natural gas and fuel oil for the production of electricity;
  • minimize the volatility of fuel costs;
  • encourage investment within the state;
  • improve environmental conditions; and,
  • at the same time, minimize the costs of power supply to electric utilities and their customers.

NRDC has endorsed these principles in FL and advocates for renewables to significantly reduce global warming pollution, adhering to the highest environmental standards and promoting competition for the best suite of technologies to conquer the greatest environment challenge of our time. 

Renewables Only, Please

An RPS ought NOT include provisions for non-renewable energy production.  One particular political heavyweight, Florida Power & Light, elected to broaden the definition of Florida’s renewable portfolio standard to include nuclear energy under the creative name “Clean Energy Portfolio Standard.” While nuclear power may contribute very little to global warming pollution, serious issues still remain on several fronts:

  • Nuclear waste disposal
  • Astronomical upfront capital costs
  • Long lead times (construction takes 10-15 years)
  • Significant safety and health risks
  • Water quality concerns

 Further details on these issues surrounding nuclear power are discussed in the recently completed “Keystone Report”: Nuclear Power Joint Fact-Finding.


Let’s hope the Florida legislature stays consistent with its original intentions to benefit all Floridians and stay on a firm path to a truly renewable, reliable, and clean energy future.