May 19, 2008
St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners
2300 Virginia Avenue
Fort Pierce, FL 34982
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national environmental non-profit organization that is actively involved in promoting clean energy policy in Florida. We have over 500 members and activists in St. Lucie County and almost 30,000 in Florida. We support the development of properly sited wind power as a component of our clean energy policy in Florida.
In July 2007, Governor Crist issued an executive order calling on Florida utilities to increase their use of renewable sources of electricity to 20% and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Therefore, Florida utilities must move away from traditional power sources to meet the governor's goals and to ensure that we generate electricity in a manner that maintains a healthy environment for future generations.
Florida is particularly vulnerable to the climatic changes we are already seeing as a result of global warming, and efforts such as the Governor's executive order and wind development by Florida Power and Light are much needed. Wind energy should be part of the energy mix in Florida because it provides a zero emissions energy source that can provide the state with cost-effective reductions in global warming pollution. Additionally, the use of wind turbine-generated electricity keeps energy dollars in the state, creates new "green collar" jobs, and promotes energy independence.
Wind energy is a tried and proven technology. It is one of the world's fastest growing energy sources on a percentage basis. U.S. wind power capacity has grown by an average of 29% each year for last five years. Total installed U.S. wind capacity at year's end 2007 was 16,818 MW, or enough to serve the equivalent of over 4.5 million average U.S. households.
The proposed FPL St. Lucie County Wind Project would be the first wind project in Florida. A successful project could lay the groundwork for expanded land and off-shore wind development in Florida and the Southeast region. While the benefits are undeniable, wind projects, like all large scale energy development should successfully complete a comprehensive environmental review and the local land use process. We hope the project will get a full and fair hearing and that Florida Power and Light will play a leading role in developing wind power for Florida.
Director of Renewable Energy Policy