The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) recently applauded Florida Governor Charlie Crist for “bold steps” designed to change Florida’s energy future and his plan 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,” stated Steven Nadel, executive director of ACEEE.

In ACEEE’s estimation, many of Gov. Crist’s policies, which were announced on July 13, mirror recommendations the association made in its recent report, “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. ACEEE said 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,” added Elliott, “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.”

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 20,” said Maggie Eldridge, a research assistant at ACEEE and lead author of the scorecard.

“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 10.”

According to Dr. Elliott, energy efficiency is the “first fuel in the race for affordable and clean energy” because it is the cheapest and fastest to deploy.

“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,” said Elliott.

ACEEE said it stands ready to help Florida’s governor and other state leaders in realizing the full potential that energy efficiency can provide.

Publication Date:09/10/2007