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Sink's energy policy aims at broadening market for alternatives fuels in Florida

CFO Alex Sink promised to be the state's "economic ambassador" Tuesday as she unveiled her energy plan and said that if elected governor she would "move our state decisively toward a more reliable, clean, and job-generating energy future." Full story here.

Sink's energy plan pushes in directions that Gov. Charlie Crist and others have sought but failed to achieve from the reluctant Republican-led legislature. For starters, she said she supports a renewable portfolio standard that would require electric companies to use a certain amount of clean energy to fuel their power plants by a set date. Twenty-nine states have adopted an RPS (also known as the Renewable Electricity Standard in Congress) while the state's Public Service Commission has recommended the legislature adopt one but it refused.

Sink told the Herald/Times that Florida has wasted precious time failing to revamp its energy future by not adopting an RPS and allowing an existing solar energy rebate program to go underfunded. She said there needs to be major shifts in policy if Florida is going to harness the innovation from emerging technologies and small businesses ready to create new jobs.

"Why our leaders haven't been aggressively pursuing these new industries, it's a disapointment,'' she said. If elected, she said, "I've got a lot of work ahead of me to recruit these forward thinking industries into place like the Space Coast.'' 

She would also expand the state solar rebate program, promote "smart-grid" technology to allow consumers to monitor their electricity usage, and develop an "aggressive solar program for homes and businesses with the objective of driving solar system costs to parity with conventional sources of electricity." 

Sink followed gubernatorial candidate Lawton “Bud” Chiles in announcing an energy plan and "white paper." He said last month that Florida power companies should be required to produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and as governor he would create a renewable energy loan fund, require utilities to set targets to conserve energy.

Sink's Republican opponents haven't said much about their energy plans. Attorney General Bill McCollum includes this promise as part of his economy and jobs goals: "Greater energy independence and diversification to provide Florida with affordable, renewable and safe energy sources for years to come." Businessman Rick Scott said he doesn't believe that climate change is real.