Florida ditches clean energy targets due to new climate law.

By Oliver Townsend May 23, 2024
Florida to repeal clean energy goals, citing new law deleting climate change mentions.jpegOrginal image from: https://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/2024/05/23/florida-clean-energy-goals-climate-change-desantis-wilton-simpson-renewable/

Florida is known for its sunny weather and beautiful beaches, but recent legislative changes are casting a shadow on the state’s clean energy goals. A new law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis is set to repeal these goals, citing the removal of climate change mentions. This move has sparked controversy and raised concerns about the state’s environmental future.

Rolling Back Clean Energy Goals

The Florida Office of Energy is planning to repeal goals for utilities statewide to transition to cleaner energy, including the target of having 100% of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2050. The proposal to roll back these goals was crafted by the director of the Office of Energy, Brooks Rumenik, and approved by Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson.

The clean energy goals were initially set in 2022 by Simpson’s predecessor, Democrat Nikki Fried. They were not binding to utility companies but aimed to set benchmarks for the portion of energy utilities produce or buy from renewable sources, starting with 40% by 2030.

Impact of the New Law

The rollback of clean energy goals comes as a result of House Bill 1645, signed by Governor DeSantis, which deleted mentions of climate change from state law and shifted the focus of state energy policy away from reducing greenhouse gases. The new law also prohibited offshore wind turbines in state waters and made other changes to energy regulations.

According to the proposal by the Office of Energy, the renewable energy goals are deemed “no longer necessary” in light of these legal changes. Governor DeSantis has defended the new law as a way to reject what he calls the “agenda of radical green zealots.”

Opposition and Concerns

Environmentalists have strongly opposed the repeal of clean energy goals, with Greg Knecht, the executive director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida, calling it a disservice to the renewable energy sector and local communities. Removing climate change language from the law has raised concerns about the state’s future economy and environmental sustainability.

The decision to repeal clean energy goals in Florida reflects a larger debate about the balance between economic interests and environmental conservation. As the state grapples with these changes, the future of clean energy initiatives and climate action remains uncertain.

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