Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried on Thursday announced a new series of state energy goal proposals for the coming decades, including aspirations to achieve 100 percent electricity renewable by 2050. The goals seek to increase the amounts of renewable energy used by the state to at least 40 percent by 2030, 63 percent by 2035, 82 percent by 2040, and ultimately 100 percent by 2050.
Future requirements will be put in place that mandate each electric utility in the state to annually report the amount of renewable energy they produce or purchase. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) will review these reports annually and provide the state Public Service Commission with guidelines to maintain a track of energy renewability.
“We can’t afford to deny the reality or the urgency of what’s happening to our state. We need to be doing so much more when it comes to finding solutions and protecting our environment,” Fried said. “We know we still have a long way to go and we’re going to need everyone to do their part, but issuing these goals is an important step forward.”
The proposed rule is yielded from a lengthy court battle involving individuals who claim Florida is violating their constitutional rights by continuing to promote the use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy sources.
Though the rule is not final and could face future legal challenges, Fried said it is the first step in maintaining Florida’s fragile ecosystem amid warnings of rising temperatures and altering ecosystems.
“This is one of the most urgent issues of our time,” Fried said at her Miami press conference. “We can’t afford to deny this reality and the urgency of what is happening to our state.”
According to the federal Energy Information Administration, roughly 5 percent of Florida’s electricity in 2020 was produced by renewable sources like wind and solar, compared with 75 percent by natural gas, primarily methane.
Coincidentally, Florida Power Light Company (FPL) today gave investors a progress report on its deployment of utility-scale solar power generation that was approved by state regulators under Gov. Ron DeSantis. The company reported that it now owns and operates more than 3,600 megawatts of solar in Florida, noting that represents the largest solar portfolio of any utility in the country.
“During the quarter, FPL successfully placed in service approximately 450 megawatts of additional cost-effective solar projects that are recovered through base rates as part of its new four-year settlement agreement, which as a reminder became effective on January 1st of this year,” said Kirk Crews, Executive Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of NextEra Energy. “As a result, FPL has now completed, on time and within budget, all of its planned solar builds with 2022 in-service dates.”
The Capitolist has reached out to the Office of Ron Desantis regarding Fried’s proposals and awaits a response.