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Wednesday, 22 July 2015 13:31

Will 'Big Energy' block solar in Florida?

Written by  FL Center Investigative Reporting and others

Posted July 22, 2015
Solar Power + Corrupt Florida, cont'd.

In Sunshine State, Big Energy Blocks Solar Power

Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, By Eric Barton, April 3, 2015

Back when Dr. Paige Kreegel was a state representative in 2009, he had an idea that he thought simply made sense. Florida, the Sunshine State, should become a model for solar power.

As chair of the state House’s Committee on Energy, Kreegel was in a position to change Florida laws that have restricted the growth of energy-producing rooftop solar panels on homes in Florida. As a self-described free-market Republican, Kreegel saw the issue as getting government out of the way of a growing industry.

But Kreegel soon discovered that his fellow committee members wouldn’t even discuss solar energy, and the fact that he brought it up made him an outcast in Tallahassee. When he walked the halls of the Legislature, other lawmakers would turn around and shut their doors. …

… An analysis of campaign records by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting shows that the utility companies have sunk $12 million into the campaigns of state lawmakers since 2010.

That money comes from the bills paid by customers of the state’s four largest utilities — Duke Energy, Gulf Power, Florida Power & Light, and Tampa Electric, or TECO.

Those donations include contributions to every member of the Senate and House leadership. The recipient of the most utility money since 2010 is Gov. Rick Scott’s 2014 re-election campaign, which took in more than $1.1 million through two political action committees.

“Why don’t we have a bigger solar industry in Florida?” asked Mike Antheil, a West Palm Beach lobbyist who represents solar companies. “The answer is simple. Every kilowatt of solar you produce on your roof is one less kilowatt that the utilities can sell you.”

The state’s largest utilities declined to comment on specific questions related to this article. …

… Former state Rep. Jimmy Patronis is now on the regulatory board that oversees energy in Florida. He has also been listed as ALEC’s state chair. …



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Last modified on Wednesday, 22 July 2015 14:05
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