Washington, D.C. — The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) applauds Florida Governor Charlie Crist for "bold steps" announced July 13 that will change Florida's energy future and take important actions to combat global warming.
"Governor Crist has moved Florida toward the vanguard of states on clean energy policy by recognizing that energy efficiency is the first fuel in the race for a clean and affordable energy future," said Steven Nadel, ACEEE's Executive Director.
Many of Gov. Crist's policies mirror recommendations in the recent ACEEE study Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida's Growing Energy Demands. This study assessed how energy efficiency and renewable energy can meet Florida's growing electricity needs; electricity accounts for about half of the state's greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Governor and his staff have recognized the importance of energy efficiency in changing the energy discussion in Florida," said Dr. Neal Elliott, ACEEE's Industrial Program Director and the study's lead author. "Energy efficiency is the most affordable energy resource in Florida—it has the potential to meet the state's growing need for energy while reducing Floridians' future energy costs and at the same time addressing the challenge of global warming. But the really good news," Elliot added, "is that our analysis shows that energy efficiency is a productivity investment that strengthens the economy while adding a significant number of new well-paying jobs to Florida's employment base."
The Governor's proposals go beyond the electric power sector to address the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions—transportation. Most importantly, the Governor has directed the state to adopt the California tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions regulations that will increase the fuel economy of new vehicles purchased in the state by 40 percent. State fleets are also directed to improve their efficiency and begin a shift to alternative fuels.
"By joining California and 11 other states, Florida has rejected the waffling on vehicle efficiency that has delayed action at the federal level," said Dr. Therese Langer, ACEEE Transportation Program Director. With the addition of Florida, greenhouse gas regulations would now cover over two-fifths of the new cars in the U.S. if the EPA grants the waver requested by California over 18 months ago. "We are also pleased that Governor Crist committed to Governor Schwarzenegger last Friday to vigorously support California in its pursuit of the waver."
Another recent ACEEE report, State Energy Efficiency Scorecard for 2006, ranked Florida 29th in the country in energy efficiency policies. "Gov. Crist's proposals to increase efficiency in state buildings and fleets and to adopt California's tailpipe emission standards would raise Florida's ranking into the top twenty. If the public service commission adopts pending energy efficiency targets for utilities and increases funding for efficiency programs, the state could move into the top ten," said Maggie Eldridge, a research assistant at ACEEE and lead author of the scorecard. "These bold steps create a beacon for energy efficiency in the Southeast—a region that has lacked leadership in clean energy policy."
"Energy efficiency is the first fuel in the race for affordable and clean energy, because it is the cheapest and fastest to deploy," said Dr. Elliott. "Combined with renewables, efficiency offers Florida a sustainable energy future that provides greater energy security, costs less, pollutes less, and supports economic growth better than the current course. ACEEE stands ready to help the Governor and other state leaders in realizing the full potential that energy efficiency can provide."
The reports, Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida's Growing Energy Demands and State Energy Efficiency Scorecard for 2006, are available for free download at www.aceee.org/pubs/e075.htm and /pubs/e072.htm, respectively. Hard copies can be purchased for $35 each plus $5 postage and handling from ACEEE Publications, 1001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20036-5525, phone: 202-429-0063, fax: 202-429-0193, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.