- The bipartisan push for clean energy in Florida continues this week, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reports, as two state legislators introduce bills to boost the Sunshine State's solar energy market and take on advanced billing practices from utilities.
- Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes (R) has introduced bills that would lower real estate and personal property taxes on businesses’ rooftop solar installations and exempt businesses’ renewable energy systems from tangible property taxes.
- At the same time, Florida State Representative Dwight Dudley (D) introduced a bill that would make advanced cost recovery illegal for utilities. Progress Energy, now a part of Duke Energy, and Florida Power and Light have used advanced cost recovery to bill Florida customers for projects that are not yet in service and may never be.
In addition to the bills from Brandes and Dudley, there is also a bipartisan grassroots movement led by environmental renewables advocates, Tea Party renewables advocates, and Christian Coalition members that may result in a petition for a constitutional amendment on the 2016 Florida ballot to allow individuals and businesses that aren't utilities to sell solar energy-generated electricity.
Green Tea Coalition leader Debbie Dooley recently told Utility dive that bipartisan efforts by her coalition are giving Florida legislators cover to stand up against utility efforts to block solar growth. Dooley is a member of the coalition pushing for the 2016 ballot proposal.
"The Sunshine State should be the leader in solar energy," according to Senator Brandes. "This legislation is designed to remove barriers to businesses so that they can enter this growing renewable energy market. Reducing burdensome taxes is a key component to fostering the solar energy market."
Multiple past attempts to ban the advance cost recovery practice for nuclear generation have failed. Without it, utilities and nuclear advocates say there would be no feasible way to finance nuclear plant construction, especially in competition with the more affordable economics of new natural gas facilities.
Duke collected the full amount for undelivered nuclear equipment through advance cost recovery billing by the end of 2014 and retains a 20 year license for the proposed Levy County Nuclear Power Plant.