Florida Governor Signs Energy and Climate Change Bill

On June 25, 2008, Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law House Bill 7135, enacting several new energy and climate change policies.  The policies include the Florida Climate Protection Act, which authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to develop an electric-utility greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program.  Pending legislative approval of the final plan, the cap-and-trade program may begin operation as soon as January 1, 2010.  Among other goals, the program will develop a timeline to reduce electric sector GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, 1990 levels by 2025, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2005, in accordance with Governor Crist’s Executive Order 07-127 from July 2007.

In addition, the bill directs the Public Service Commission to adopt a Renewable Portfolio Standard for public utilities, requires utilities to develop standardized net metering programs for customer-owned renewable energy generation, and directs the Public Service Commission to investigate utility revenue decoupling.  It also establishes the Florida Energy and Climate Commission, which will execute many of the statute’s provisions, and the Florida Energy Systems Consortium, a collaboration of the state universities tasked to develop and implement a strategic energy plan for the state.  Furthermore, the bill sets a statewide 10-percent ethanol Renewable Fuel Standard to be achieved by December 31, 2010, increases energy efficiency targets in the Florida Building Code by 50 percent by 2019, and mandates that all state-financed building construction and renovation comply with green building standards.

Press Release
HB 7135
Analysis of HB 7135
Executive Order 17-127
Florida Climate Actions