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Green energy costs concern businesses

As Florida moves to implement those measures and consider others, businesses are concerned. ''We are injecting into the argument what the cost will be and the competitive effect of putting our state at an economic disadvantage to all other states that don't have strict emissions standards,'' said Jose Gonzalez, vice president of government affairs for Associated Industries of Florida, a lobbying group for businesses. ``It's certainly laudable. The governor is trying to do the right thing. But the way we get there is the question.''

The debate over going green has leaped miles beyond whether to pursue such options to the bedeviling question of how.

As the Florida Legislature prepares to weigh various green energy proposals, powerful business interests are steering the discussion to the cost and the potential impact on Florida's competitiveness.

Many of the legislative proposals in the works so far -- such as tax credits for renewable energy, funding for renewable-energy research, and energy-efficiency standards for new home, commercial and government construction -- are palatable to most businesses.

But others would set mandates, such as a proposal from Gov. Charlie Crist to set a renewable fuel standard of at least 5 percent of total consumption by 2012 and 10 percent by 2015, including the use of E85, a mixture of ethanol and gas.

Concrete Goals

Last July, at a state-hosted summit on climate change held in Miami, Gov. Crist issued an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the fourthlargest state. The goal is 10 percent by 2012, 25 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025.

Among other things, the order calls for setting maximum emissions for electric utilities; establishing tighter, California-style... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The debate over going green has leaped miles beyond whether to pursue such options to the bedeviling question of how.

As the Florida Legislature prepares to weigh various green energy proposals, powerful business interests are steering the discussion to the cost and the potential impact on Florida's competitiveness.

Many of the legislative proposals in the works so far -- such as tax credits for renewable energy, funding for renewable-energy research, and energy-efficiency standards for new home, commercial and government construction -- are palatable to most businesses.

But others would set mandates, such as a proposal from Gov. Charlie Crist to set a renewable fuel standard of at least 5 percent of total consumption by 2012 and 10 percent by 2015, including the use of E85, a mixture of ethanol and gas.

Concrete Goals

Last July, at a state-hosted summit on climate change held in Miami, Gov. Crist issued an executive order to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the fourthlargest state. The goal is 10 percent by 2012, 25 percent by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025.

Among other things, the order calls for setting maximum emissions for electric utilities; establishing tighter, California-style vehicle-emissions standards that require a federal waiver before they can be adopted; and achieving a 20-percent renewable energy mix by 2020, with a focus on solar and wind energy.

The Bottom Line

As Florida moves to implement those measures and consider others, businesses are concerned.

''We are injecting into the argument what the cost will be and the competitive effect of putting our state at an economic disadvantage to all other states that don't have strict emissions standards,'' said Jose Gonzalez, vice president of government affairs for Associated Industries of Florida, a lobbying group for businesses. ``It's certainly laudable. The governor is trying to do the right thing. But the way we get there is the question.''

Gonzalez said the vehicle emissions standard and idling rules would be onerous, particularly to trucking companies. The change would require low-sulphur diesel that is pricey and hard to find.

Associated Industries of Florida would prefer the entire Southeast region of the United States work toward agreeing on a common standard for cutting emissions, rather than Florida blazing a trail on its own, he said. That would keep Florida on equal footing with nearby states vying to attract and keep employers.

But others point out that Florida can capitalize on the stampede to go green by establishing the state as an incubator for green technology.

''There is enormous interest in the investment -banking community to further these industries,'' said Chris Kise, the governor's liaison to the Governor's Action Team on Energy and Climate Change. Crist appointed 21 members, representing business, environmental groups, government and academia, to come up with ideas for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and diversifying the state's energy resources.

''There is going to be enormous amounts of money to be made by whoever wins the race to the finish line on how to generate renewable power,'' Kise said.


Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/...

MAR 3 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/13640-green-energy-costs-concern-businesses
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