Florida Releases New Energy Plan

The plan offers some incentives to conserve, but it could also make it easier to put a power plant in your backyard.

The state energy plan calls for new incentives for solar, wind, bio-diesel and energy saving appliances. The state already exempts solar from the sales tax, and beginning this month solar dealer Al Simpler says there are new federal incentives to make the switch.

Al says, “You can spend up to $7,000 and get a $2,000 tax credit.”

In addition to conservation incentives, the plan would make it easier for the state to build more power plants. It would give the governor and Cabinet the authority to override local decisions.

Colleen Castille, DEP Secretary, says, “What we would recommend is a change in the rules that understand that there are certain things that you have to protect in terms of the environment. If there’s mitigation required, we know how to do that mitigation well now.”

Late last year, the Saint Lucie County Commission voted down a new power plant. The Florida Public Interest Research Group says a change in state law could thwart local interests.

Holly Binns with FPIRG says, “The part of this plan is to allow utilities to build more coal and nuclear power plants, and a lot faster.”

The state plan also calls for creating new pipelines and other ways of moving fuel for utilities and gas for cars during hurricanes and other natural occurrences.