Balance Energy Florida (BEF) merges the energy interests of the public and the private sector to ensure that energy is reliable, affordable, environmentally compatible, and derived from a balanced fuel mix. BEF is coalition of concerned consumers throughout Florida, energy companies, vendors, families, and Hispanic-owned businesses that are committed to supporting rational policies that preserve and promote Florida’s leading role in affordable energy and economic development.
BEF was founded on the belief that a reliable, affordable, environmentally sensible and balanced energy supply is the lifeblood of the economy, and essential to the economic prosperity of our 21st Century. BEF strongly believes these fundamental objectives will make Florida a truly attractive and much more viable state for persons to live, work and play.
As a peninsula, Florida is unfortunately more exposed and susceptible to natural and manmade disasters. Over reliance on any one energy source could lead to disastrous situations. Over half of Florida’s electricity is generated by natural gas. There is a need for the state to explore alternative energy sources that enhance reliability and ensure access to affordable energy. Clean coal, nuclear, and cost-effective energy efficiency are readily available alternatives that can provide for enhanced reliability and affordability.
By providing a reliable, affordable, and environmentally compatible source of electricity, clean coal and nuclear energy keep Florida businesses competitive. Clean coal and nuclear plants also are engines of local job growth, and keep businesses operating expenses predictably low for the life of the energy facility.
Most concerning for our members is that Florida may be 70% reliant on natural gas by the end of 2020, and our members are concerned about relying on one fuel that experienced a peak price of $13.69 per million British thermal units on July 2, 2008. This overreliance on one fuel could undermine recent growth in our economy and burden Florida families with high electricity prices. To combat this overreliance, BEF suggests Florida policymakers embrace alternatives to natural gas that promote and achieve reliable and affordable electricity.
Clean coal technologies is a low-cost provider of reliable base load electricity in America, and helps provide fuel diversity in a heavily reliant natural gas state like Florida. Since 1990, America's coal-based electricity industry has invested more than $90 billion in the deployment of clean coal technologies to reduce air emissions. Another $6 billion is earmarked for clean coal technology projects under development or construction. Florida should pursue clean coal technologies to reduce emissions from traditional technology, and keep electric prices low for consumers and businesses. Additionally, the coal industry has reduced its emissions by 70% over the last 40 years (www.coalfacts.org), and continues to further reduce air emissions each decade through commercializing emission-reduction technologies that are made in America.
Concerns about rising electricity demand and clean air are among the factors driving interest in new nuclear plants. Nuclear, like clean coal, provides fuel diversity in a heavily reliant natural gas state like Florida, and is currently the only electricity source that can generate electricity 24/7 reliably, efficiently and with zero emissions. (http://www.nei.org/) To meet the rising demand of advanced new nuclear construction, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has established a new and more efficient process for licensing nuclear power plants that includes public opportunities for early participation and ensures that safety is foremost throughout the process.
Gas icons3BEF supports the responsible use of natural gas in a utility’s balanced fuel mix, and supports the national push to certify LNG facilities for exporting of natural gas to international communities that pay five times the rate for natural gas than U.S. utilities. Natural gas will remain a valued resource in our society, and continue to play a large role in Florida’s commerce through direct use by consumers and utility-scale power plants. Natural gas is helping meet society’s needs in Florida, the United States and worldwide.
BEF supports the deployment of smart grid technologies that enhance efficiency and reduce the time of restoration during electrical outages. In December 2007, Congress passed, and the President approved, Title XIII of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). EISA provided the legislative support for US DOE’s smart grid activities, and reinforced its role in leading and coordinating national grid modernization efforts.
The ‘smart grid’ enables communication between the utility and its customers using a two-way telecommunication system. Similar to the Internet, the Smart Grid consists of controls, computers, automation, and innovative technologies that all work together to enhance reliability and drive down the cost of energy. (http://energy.gov/oe/technology-development/smart-grid)
BEF supports the deployment of smart grid technologies and data analytics programs that will empower smarter consumer choices while ensuring customers’ information remains private and protected in this new advanced power sector.
Reducing Florida’s electric peak and energy demand is best addressed using the consumer-preferred test that does not raise rates on the general body of ratepayers (you and me). In other words, BEF supports demand-side management program that ensure all customer rates are lower than they otherwise would have been without the DSM program.
As the Public Service Commission recently reported, Florida utilities subject to the Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act have recovered over $5.4 billion of conservation expenditures through the Energy Conservation Cost Recovery (ECCR) clause since 1981, with approximately $2.6 billion of conservation program expenditures in the last ten years. According to this same report issued by the Florida Public Service Commission in 2012, Florida’s investor-owned electric utilities recovered over $355 million in conservation program expenditures from ratepayers, performed 225,924 residential energy audits, and offered over 100 conservation programs for residential and commercial customers in one single year: 2010.