Opinion: Energizing Opportunities Full Speed Ahead

Adam Putnam 2012 head shot for FLG

Since assuming the state’s Office of Energy on July 1, 2011, it has been my priority to work with the Legislature to develop and pass a balanced energy policy for our state. Last October, I hosted the first Florida Energy Summit, where key stakeholders in the energy industry, including utilities, farmers, investors, academics, and public officials, came together to discuss Florida’s energy future.

The ideas shared at the summit guided the development of my energy policy recommendations for the Legislature to consider during the 2012 legislative session. My proposals for Florida’s energy policy are intended to help our state secure a stable, reliable, and diverse supply of energy.

Market-Driven Mantra

America’s energy market is heavily distorted by layers of incentives, disincentives, mandates, and directives. With nearly every election comes a new policy promoting the latest “next big thing” in energy development. The confusing mix of policies inhibits the ability of America’s free-market system to operate at its capacity. I don’t believe government should be in the business of picking winners and losers. The market must determine what energy sources are viable over the long term and we must create a climate that encourages the development of new technologies, new businesses, and new jobs in the energy sector, without tipping the scales for one technology over another.

In growing the energy industry, we must increase diversity in the state’s energy supply. More than half of the electricity generated in Florida comes from natural gas, and that figure will rise in the years ahead. While natural gas prices are at record lows today, dependence on one source for a majority of our energy supply puts Floridians at risk if there is a supply disruption. The next hurricane to hit Florida could disrupt the only two gas pipelines currently bringing natural gas to our state through the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a shortage of supply, threatening reliability, and sending prices through the roof. It is important to have multiple sources of fuel for electricity generation.

The legislative measures I proposed are designed to reduce market manipulation and risk by promoting growth in the energy sector and increasing diversity in the state’s energy supply. First, I’ve proposed that the Legislature extend recently expired tax incentives that will encourage the development of new technologies and attract new investments to Florida. I’ve also suggested the state consider the unique characteristics of renewable energy when evaluating new energy facilities proposed for the state of Florida. Finally, my recommendations promote energy efficiency. Florida’s energy policy would not be comprehensive if it did not include efforts to conserve our use of energy.

Taking The Long View

Collectively, the measures I outlined will position Florida on a path toward a consistent, long-term energy strategy, one that will restore confidence in the energy market.

At a time when much of the economy remains stagnant, jobs in the renewable energy industry were projected to increase by more than 16% over the last year. Even in this difficult economy, investors are willing to invest in energy. We must capitalize on this opportunity by positioning Florida as a natural draw for energy infrastructure with its abundant sunshine and year-round growing season. If we’re successful, we’ll attract new businesses and create much-needed jobs for Floridians, while giving landowners a potential new revenue stream rooted in our abundant natural resources.

The energy industry is critical to economic development in Florida’s rural communities. The largest investments will be made in the growth and production of bioenergy, which leverages Florida’s strong capabilities in agriculture, but preserves the character of Florida’s small towns.

Energy policy is inherently difficult to pass. But given the natural competitive advantages we have, Florida needs a smart, balanced, and modern energy policy. I am working with the Legislature to best position our state for the future growth and fuel diversity this policy will bring. Americans know the cost of being dependent on foreign nations for our energy. Let’s hope they never learn the costs of being dependent on others for our food.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Fruits
March 29, 2017
Water Allocations in California Deemed Unfair
Tom Nassif of Western Growers objects to a recent announcement that some in California’s Central Valley received only a 65% initial water allocation, while other growers in the region received 100%. Read More
Albert Pieri of Ocean Mist Farms
Vegetables
March 29, 2017
Ocean Mist Farms’ Albert Pieri Dies
Pieri, who worked with Ocean Mist for almost 50 years, was a pioneer in the early days of California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers, which was renamed Ocean Mist Farms in 1995. Read More
Stone Fruit
March 29, 2017
Plum Varieties are Complex and Fascinating [Slideshow]
While diversity in species gives the consumer many options, plums can be a challenge for growers and marketers. Read More
Grapes
March 28, 2017
Understanding the Economics Of Red Blotch in Grapes
An economist and a plant pathologist team up to help growers understand the threshold for action when a vine is diagnosed with the virus. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 28, 2017
Washington State University Offers Powdery Mildew Management Tips
Opening buds may be exposed to overwintering inoculum as temperatures begin to rise. Read More
Nuts
March 28, 2017
How to Determine Optimal Almond Tree Spacing
Determining the proper row spacing for an orchard should be based on more than production and equipment access, and growers should also ponder the number of trees per row. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 27, 2017
It’s a Family Reunion at IFTA
Some of my fondest memories on the road are at IFTA conferences. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 27, 2017
Out of this World Expectations for ‘Cosmic Crisp’ Apple
With millions of trees going into PNW orchards, Washington State growers are betting big on ‘Cosmic Crisp'. The shift in varieties planted and more took center stage when the International Fruit Tree’s Annual Conference met in Wenatchee, WA. Read More
Miss Florida Citrus and Imperial Polk County 2017 winners Paige Todd and Rachel Smith
Citrus
March 27, 2017
Say Hello to the New Miss Florida Citrus
Storied tradition continues with crowning of the industry’s newest advocate. Read More
Irrigation
March 26, 2017
Tips to Maximize Water Efficiency in Your Almond Grove
Editor’s note: Spencer Cooper joined the Almond Board of California last fall as Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency. Western Read More
SWD On Raspberry
Berries
March 26, 2017
Outsmarting SWD with Social Media
Entomologist in Kentucky uses social media for pest updates, trap catches. Read More
honeybees
Citrus
March 25, 2017
New Videos Offer Tips on Planting Pollinator Habitats
A new video series on planting flowering habitats is designed to help growers support crop pollinators. Read More
Freeze protected blueberry bushes in Florida
Berries
March 25, 2017
Florida Blueberry Crop Escapes Slap from Late-Season Cold Snap
Freeze protection tactics prove fruitful as local producers look to gain from Georgia’s loss. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 25, 2017
Two MAIA Releases Available for Growers, Hobbyists
‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ is an early ‘GoldRush’ and ‘Bakers Delight’ is a secret ingredient for baking. Read More
Nuts
March 24, 2017
Foreboding Fungus Vexes Almond Growers
In parts of California, almond growers have recently become concerned about Ganoderma root and butt rot. To put this concern Read More
The Latest
Fruits
March 29, 2017
Water Allocations in California Deemed U…
Tom Nassif of Western Growers objects to a recent announcement that some in California’s Central Valley received only a 65% initial water allocation, while other growers in the region received 100%. Read More
Vegetables
March 29, 2017
Ocean Mist Farms’ Albert Pieri Die…
Pieri, who worked with Ocean Mist for almost 50 years, was a pioneer in the early days of California Artichoke and Vegetable Growers, which was renamed Ocean Mist Farms in 1995. Read More
Stone Fruit
March 29, 2017
Plum Varieties are Complex and Fascinati…
While diversity in species gives the consumer many options, plums can be a challenge for growers and marketers. Read More
Grapes
March 28, 2017
Understanding the Economics Of Red Blotc…
An economist and a plant pathologist team up to help growers understand the threshold for action when a vine is diagnosed with the virus. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 28, 2017
Washington State University Offers Powde…
Opening buds may be exposed to overwintering inoculum as temperatures begin to rise. Read More
Nuts
March 28, 2017
How to Determine Optimal Almond Tree Spa…
Determining the proper row spacing for an orchard should be based on more than production and equipment access, and growers should also ponder the number of trees per row. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 27, 2017
It’s a Family Reunion at IFTA
Some of my fondest memories on the road are at IFTA conferences. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 27, 2017
Out of this World Expectations for ̵…
With millions of trees going into PNW orchards, Washington State growers are betting big on ‘Cosmic Crisp'. The shift in varieties planted and more took center stage when the International Fruit Tree’s Annual Conference met in Wenatchee, WA. Read More
Citrus
March 27, 2017
Say Hello to the New Miss Florida Citrus
Storied tradition continues with crowning of the industry’s newest advocate. Read More
Irrigation
March 26, 2017
Tips to Maximize Water Efficiency in You…
Editor’s note: Spencer Cooper joined the Almond Board of California last fall as Senior Manager, Irrigation and Water Efficiency. Western Read More
Berries
March 26, 2017
Outsmarting SWD with Social Media
Entomologist in Kentucky uses social media for pest updates, trap catches. Read More
Citrus
March 25, 2017
New Videos Offer Tips on Planting Pollin…
A new video series on planting flowering habitats is designed to help growers support crop pollinators. Read More
Berries
March 25, 2017
Florida Blueberry Crop Escapes Slap from…
Freeze protection tactics prove fruitful as local producers look to gain from Georgia’s loss. Read More
Apples & Pears
March 25, 2017
Two MAIA Releases Available for Growers,…
‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ is an early ‘GoldRush’ and ‘Bakers Delight’ is a secret ingredient for baking. Read More
Nuts
March 24, 2017
Foreboding Fungus Vexes Almond Growers
In parts of California, almond growers have recently become concerned about Ganoderma root and butt rot. To put this concern Read More
Citrus
March 24, 2017
Marrone Bio Introduces Biostimulant to R…
Haven Anti-transpirant helps to reduce transpiration of fruit, nut, and vegetable crops. Read More
Citrus
March 23, 2017
Count Down the World’s Top 30 Agricultur…
Familiar names and several new faces among annual ranking’s elite. Read More
Pest Control
March 22, 2017
Fear of GMOs is Impacting Quality Food R…
Perhaps the greatest threat to our industry is a public that values instinctual opinion over careful research and the findings of experts who have dedicated years to their field of study. Read More