Apr
17
2014

Register Today!

Gulf Coast Energy ForumRegistration is now open for the inaugural Gulf Coast Energy Forum, an event that will bring together energy stakeholders from Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida to discuss shared opportunities and challenges in energy. The event is free to participants, but registration numbers are limited.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Co-hosted by PACE and the Consumer Energy Alliance, the event is scheduled for June 5th at the Renaissance Riverview in downtown Mobile, Alabama. The Gulf Coast Energy Forum will feature keynote addresses from U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and Patrick Sheehan, Director of Florida’s Office of Energy, as well as a panel discussion focusing on the importance of energy policy to jobs, economic development, and manufacturing.

The Gulf Coast Energy Forum will also feature an Executive Roundtable, with utility leaders from across the region joining together to discuss the changing landscape of the electric power sector and how those changes are likely to affect customers.

Register today to be part of the discussion about why energy is vital to the future of Gulf Coast states.

Apr
14
2014

Florida Legislature Sending Message on Federal Energy Regs

It is commonplace for stalemates to keep policymakers from getting important things done. That is why, when it comes to crucial issues like energy policy, state legislators often need to step up to protect their states and send the federal government a message. The Florida legislature is doing just that.

Last year, President Obama directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin a rulemaking process for limits on carbon emissions for new and modified power plants. The agenda behind this directive has never been a secret. The Obama administration wants to use the EPA to create rules that force the closure of coal-fired generation.

The reality is that EPA’s new rule creates an emissions threshold under which natural gas plants can operate, but coal-fired plants cannot. Now EPA has turned its sights toward existing coal-fired plants. As a result, hundreds of coal plants have already closed, thousands of jobs have been lost, and the future reliability of the electricity grid remains very much in question.

A memorial, known as a resolution in many states, is currently moving through the Florida House that would declare EPA’s carbon regulations a threat to the affordability and reliability of electricity in Florida. The measure, titled HB 1027, would also urge Congress to provide flexibility to Florida in reducing carbon emissions. Its sponsor, Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) said, “God gave us this resource. Until we have better technology at some point in the future we need to use it to keep our economy going.”

So far, the memorial has passed through two committee stops and has one remaining before it would be sent to the floor for a vote. The Florida Senate has introduced a similar memorial, SB 1174, that passed through its first committee stop with a 9-0 vote.

Although the votes on the Florida memorials have been mainly along party lines, two Democratic legislators have broken ranks and supported them. It is expected that more will follow as legislators consider the costs to consumers in their districts if EPA regulations continue. We certainly hope they will, as bipartisan action on this important issue is a key solution to gaining an outcome that consumers can live with.

The Florida Legislature is sending an important message to Washington, DC. They’re telling federal policy makers to slow down and consider the consequences of far-reaching energy regulations. It’s time for consumers in Florida – and in all states – to get behind that message and tell their lawmakers that reliable and affordable power are worth fighting for.

Apr
10
2014

Combating Energy Poverty Important

United Nations representatives and scientists repeatedly refer to climate change as “a threat to human security.” In fact, the U.N. Secretary General recently called climate change “the single greatest threat to sustainable development.” On a domestic level, Secretary of State John Kerry describes it “a weapon of mass destruction.” Such characterizations are rich topics of debate, and there is much yet unknown about the specifics of might lie in our collective future. What is known, and what is incontrovertibly supported by fact, is that energy poverty is a threat to human security and development.

Energy poverty is not a theory. It is a devastating problem affecting the world today. New data shows that half the people in the world lack adequate access to energy, including 1.2 billion children. This problem greatly affects health, standard of living, and the environment. Without affordable energy, it is impossible for people to lead a decent life and is difficult even to survive. Unlike the highly speculative figures calculated by federal officials to justify regulations like Utility MACT, the human lives affected by energy poverty today can be counted in a tangible way.

The vast majority of people without energy access live in third-world countries, mainly in Africa and Asia, including populous countries such as India. While the U.N. and environmental groups remain fixated on costly renewable energy projects that cut carbon emissions, people suffering energy poverty in these countries simply want power that works. They aren’t interested in carbon taxes and energy efficiency mandates. They are interested in survival on a scale that most of us in the first world cannot fathom, but less appreciate.

To meet these basic needs, nations like China and India are building more generation capacity from coal, natural gas, and nuclear power at an incredible rate. And they are not about to stop. Countries desperate for more energy, hoping to build competitive economies, can only do so with more affordable energy, not less.

There are certainly threats in the world today. The U.N. report on climate change believes strongly that climate change is one of them. But while we speculate about future risks, we shouldn’t forget the real risks we can see today with our own eyes: the poorest people in the world who suffer enormously when energy is unavailable, too expensive, or unreliable.