Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy schedules forum

01/28/09 Seán Kinane
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Many people think that a way to both jump-start the failing economy and to help the environment is to invest in renewable energy. This Thursday at St. Petersburg College, the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy (FARE) will hold a panel discussion and town hall meeting on the future of renewable energy and green jobs in the state.

FARE organizer Jane Maxwell says some speakers will focus on how to “fund renewable energy to keep the cost as low as possible while providing as much renewable energy as possible.” This, in turn, would stimulate the economy by creating green jobs.

One speaker, state Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, is on the House Energy and Utilities Policy Committee, which Maxwell says “will be making decisions about legislation regarding how renewable energy will come into Florida.”

Some environmentalists fear that the Public Service Commission’s renewable portfolio standard will be watered down to include nuclear as a so-called “clean” energy source, a concept being pushed by investor-owned utilities such as Progress Energy.

Mike Antheil, executive director of FARE, says that a solar power industry could help bring jobs to Florida. Solar could be funded, Antheil says, by what in Europe is called a “feed-in tariff,” what is being called a “renewable energy payment” in the United States.

Antheil says that with a renewable energy payment in place, solar power could be much more affordable in Florida. That would result in manufacturing jobs, which along with other green jobs could help lead the state and the country out of economic disaster.

“I have a background in finance and one of the simplest concepts is that when one group of industries leads us into a lousy economy; it’s going to be another group of industries that leads out of that lousy economy. We’re firmly under the belief that it’s going to be the renewable energy, the kind of green, clean technology industry that is going to lead us out of this bad economy.”

The panel discussion and town hall meeting on Florida's Renewable Energy and Green Jobs Future is open to the public. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Gibbs Campus of St. Petersburg College, 6605 5th Ave. N., in the Social Arts building.

Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy

Florida Renewable Energy Association

Rick Kriseman

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