Florida’s House Bill 919 is bad for the economy and the environment
Last month, the Florida legislature concluded its 2021 legislative session without taking any of the bold climate action the Sunshine State urgently needs. Once again, Florida legislators have failed to prioritize bringing our energy policies into the 21st century. Worse, they’ve passed House Bill 919, a bill that would send us backwards. We’re calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to veto this bill without delay.
Florida is already dangerously over-reliant on fossil fuels, with natural gas powering 75% of the state’s power grid — more than twice the national average. Instead of investing in clean energy like solar, this bill would override local governments and block municipalities from meeting their renewable energy goals. In other words, it would stifle the voices of Floridians who have made the decision to invest in clean energy for their homes, businesses, and communities.
Due to the state’s inaction on climate, local governments have been forced to lead the way, with eleven Florida municipalities already working toward clean energy commitments. By stripping away the freedom to choose how our communities are powered, HB 919 could undo the impressive strides made through these local initiatives and set our progress back decades.
Besides being environmentally harmful, the bill is economically unsustainable. While the cost of solar technology has dropped significantly in recent years, gas prices continue to rise. In fact, Florida’s utility providers send more than $5 billion out of state every year to purchase gas. Investing in renewable energy would keep those dollars in the state and create local jobs in the process.
Diversifying Florida’s energy grid would also mean bill savings and stability for ratepayers, who are currently at the whim of volatile fuel costs and extreme weather events. A recent scenario by the U.S. Energy Information Administration outlined a possibility that gas prices could double over the next decade, a spike that would result in an average increase of $360 per year on every Floridians’ electric bill. With that kind of financial risk looming, it’s no wonder that more and more Florida municipalities are turning to more cost-effective energy sources. Lawmakers and special interests should not and must not impede their freedom to do so.
More than 300 Vote Solar members have written personalized emails to Governor DeSantis urging him to veto HB 919. I hope he acts in the best interests of his constituents and sides with energy freedom over the powerful utility companies who want to stand in the way of progress.