JEA Shakes Up Solar Policies

 

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Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has approved policies to encourage adding storage batteries to homeowners who use solar energy to power their homes. JEA currently produces 50 megawatts of solar power. That number will jump to 250 megawatts by 2019. The new policies will reduce the $0.10 per kilowatt hour of energy that homeowners are paying now to $0.03 per kilowatt hour.

A recent Jacksonville Business Journal article, JEA Shakes Up Solar Policies, discusses how JEA’s new policies are helping to securing Florida’s future.

 

JEA unanimously approved Tuesday policies to increase the authority’s reliance on solar energy, to cut an incentive for homeowners to install solar panels and to create an incentive for homeowners to add storage batteries to their solar arrays.

JEA will add up to 250 megawatts of solar power to its energy portfolio. It is budgeting up to $50 million to buy land for solar farms, which could be operational by late 2019. This addition of solar power, which dwarfs the 50 megawatts currently produced by JEA, would make Jacksonville the largest solar community in the United States per capita, based on projections of other cities’ portfolios.

JEA staff members lauded solar power in their presentation to the board of directors. They noted that solar power had reached price parity with fossil fuel generation and that JEA customers are increasingly adding solar panels to their homes. The cost to install solar systems has fallen 70 percent since 2010, leading to a 68 percent annual growth rate for the industry nationwide, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Yet, JEA is rolling back net metering benefits that homeowners rely upon to justify the high upfront cost of solar system installation. Under the current net metering policy, which began in 2009, homeowners with solar systems receive $0.10 per kilowatt hour of energy that they produce above their consumption. Starting Apr. 1, this will roll back to just over $0.03 per kilowatt hour. However, those currently receiving the $0.10 payout will be grandfathered in for the next 20 years.

Click here to read the complete article.

Amendment 1 Guarantees Solar Energy Choices Will Be Part of Florida’s Energy Future

Florida is growing by nearly 1,000 residents every day. At this rate, our researchers estimate Florida will add six million more residents by 2030.

Florida’s infrastructure, which includes water, transportation, communications and energy, needs to keep up with demand and we need to ensure our legislative framework provides the tools needed to secure Florida’s future.

When voters go to the polls during the November 8th General Election, they will have an opportunity to create a permanent legislative environment to adapt to changing energy technology and consumer choices with Amendment 1.

For years, Florida’s Constitution has been the target of out-of-state and special interests who want to embed their outside influence on Florida’s future.

Understanding that Florida’s Constitution can be amended five different ways, Florida’s process to make permanent constitutional changes is often more of an art than science.

Yet out-of-state special interests are now working to chip away at Florida’s amendatory process, and working to leave a permanent footprint on the everyday lives of Florida’s families and businesses.

With that in mind, I believe it’s important that we take a closer look at proposed amendments and the policies they contain. When it comes to Amendment 1, the Florida Chamber believes solar energy is an important component of our future energy choices, and we fully support the policies contained in Amendment 1 on the General Election ballot.

In the case of Amendment 1, a strong argument can be made that voters passing this amendment now is a smart way to depoliticize the important solar energy debate for decades to come.

As the Florida Chamber has warned, there are well-funded special interests groups and billionaires with agendas that seek to pass mandates that would dramatically increase electricity costs and limit Florida’s competitiveness. Therefore, although we don’t necessarily support the process, the concepts in Amendment 1 are needed and will provide an important framework to protect consumers and increase choices for Florida’s businesses and consumers.

As Florida Chamber polling consistently shows, it appears voters want solar energy as an option, and they believe the legislature is the best place to make future policy decisions. Amendment 1 essentially guarantees that solar energy will be part of Florida’s future energy portfolio and it also ensures that, as technology and American’s regulatory climate changes, the framework for future decisions rests squarely where it belongs – with the Florida Legislature.

While the Florida Chamber may have a long-standing policy of refraining from supporting concepts that could be handled through statutes, a strong argument can be made that Amendment 1 is needed to set up a permanent framework for legislative solutions now and for decades to come.

I believe Amendment 1 will pass and, when it does, the Florida Chamber of Commerce will be at the table to urge the legislature to continue establishing a framework that creates reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy solutions for decades to come.

DID YOU KNOW:

According to the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute statewide poll, if the election were held today, it appears more than 65 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 1 which protects the rights of electricity consumer regarding solar energy choice.

SHARE WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES TODAY: WHO VOTES DECIDES WHO WINS

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Visit FloridaWins.Org to learn more about the candidates, and make your plans to vote November 8th.

New Florida Chamber of Commerce Statewide Poll Shows Presidential Race Too Close to Call in Florida

 

Rubio/Murphy Locked in a Tight Race; Amendments Would Pass if Election Were Today

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (September 26, 2016) – As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump make final preparations for their first presidential debate tonight, the latest Florida Chamber Political Institute (FCPI) statewide poll shows the presidential race too close to call. Florida remains a tossup state between Clinton and Trump.

“Floridians don’t like either candidate at the top of the ticket, therefore it’s important that both candidates work to connect with voters tonight when they will have the nation’s attention during the presidential debate,” said MARIAN JOHNSON, Senior Vice President of Political Operations. “Presidential debates offer candidates an opportunity to make solid gains and to improve their outcome at the ballot box. I believe Floridians will be watching the candidates closely to learn more about them, and to help determine which way they will vote.”

In addition to their dislike of Clinton and Trump, Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are locked in a tight race, while political parties and billboard trial lawyers continue to be disliked by voters.

 

Politicians, Parties, and Plaintiff Trial Lawyers are Mostly Disliked:

poling_092616

 

Key Facts About Florida Voters:

  • Jobs and the economy remain the number one concern among Florida voters at 19 percent, followed by education and schools at 12 percent.
  • Florida voters are more optimistic that Florida is moving in the right direction – 44 percent right direction and 36 percent wrong direction.

 

Head-to-Head Matchups:

Presidential Election:
While Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump 45 percent to 42 percent in the head-to-head General Election matchup, the Florida Chamber Political Institute statewide poll shows Clinton’s lead shrinks when third party candidates are added to the mix. Clinton leads Trump 43 percent to 41 percent with Libertarian Gary Johnson pulling 8 percent of the vote.

 

Presidential Ticket:

  • Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine 43%
  • Donald Trump/Mike Pence 41%
  • Gary Johnson/Bill Weld 8%
  • Someone Else 2%
  • Undecided 5%
  • Refused 1%

 

South Florida Problem:

  • Trump continues to struggle in South Florida, trailing nearly 20 points in each media market.
    • In a head-to-head race, Clinton leads Trump 56 percent to 25 percent in Miami, while in a three-way race including Gary Johnson, Clinton leads 56 percent to 31 percent for Trump and 3 percent for Gary Johnson.
    • In a head-to-head race, Clinton leads Trump 53 percent to 32 percent in West Palm Beach, while in a three-way race including Gary Johnson, Clinton leads 52 percent to 34 percent for Trump and 5 percent for Johnson.

 

Demographics:

  • Hillary Clinton is helped with her commanding lead among Hispanic voters.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among Hispanic voters 53 percent to 30 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Clinton leads among Hispanic voters 49 percent to 30 percent for Trump and 12 percent for Johnson.
  • Hilary Clinton has an impressive lead among African American voters.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among African American voters 89 percent to 4 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Clinton leads among African American voters 88 percent to 4 percent for Trump and 1 percent for Johnson.
  • Donald Trump has a strong lead among White voters and it does not move much when adding a third party
    • In a head-to-head race with Clinton, Trump leads among White voters 51 percent to 35 percent.
    • In a three-way race including Gary Johnson the Libertarian, Trump leads among White voters 51 percent to 34 percent for Clinton and 8 percent for Johnson.
  • A gender gap still exists – Trump leads among men and Clinton is dominating among women
    • In a head-to-head race with Clinton, Trump leads among men 47 percent to 42 percent, and in a three-way race he leads with men 45 percent to 41 percent to 9 percent for Gary Johnson.
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among women 47 percent to 37 percent, and in a three-way race, Clinton leads with women 46 percent to 38 percent to 7 percent for Johnson.
  • Clinton and Trump each do equally well with their bases
    • Clinton earns the support of 78 percent of Democrats in a head-to-head with Trump and 76 percent of Democrats in a three-way contest with Gary Johnson.
    • Trump earns the support of 76 percent of Republicans in a head-to-head with Clinton and 76 percent of the vote in a three-way contest with Gary Johnson.
  • Clinton leads Trump among voters from minor parties or who are unaffiliated
    • In a head-to-head race with Trump, Clinton leads among other parties 47 percent to 38 percent.
    • Clinton increases her lead slightly among other parties 45 percent to 35 percent over Trump, with Gary Johnson receiving 9 percent among voters from minor parties or who have no party affiliation.

 

U.S. Senate:
Marco Rubio and Patrick Murphy are locked in a race that will be tight until Election Day.

  • Marco Rubio 46%
  • Patrick Murphy 42%
  • Undecided 11%
  • Refused 1%

 

Demographics:

  • Marco Rubio continues to lead Patrick Murphy as he has in every FCPI poll – a credit to his strength among demographic groups.
    • Rubio leads Murphy 46 percent to 43 percent among Hispanic voters
    • Murphy leads Rubio 79 percent to 11 percent among African American voters
    • Rubio leads Murphy 53 percent to 35 percent among White voters
    • Rubio leads Murphy with men and barely trails him among women
      • Rubio leads Murphy 49 percent to 41 percent among men.
      • Murphy only leads Rubio by 2 points among women, 44 percent to 42 percent.
    • Rubio’s lead among votes from other parties mirrors his lead in the general election (4 percent). Rubio leads Murphy 42 percent to 38 percent among voters from minor parties or who have no party affiliation.

 

Amendment 1:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 65 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 1 which protects the rights of electricity consumers regarding solar energy choice.

  • Yes 66%
  • No 16%

 

“The Florida Chamber supports the solar energy policies in Amendment 1 and it appears Florida voters do too,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

Amendment 2:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 70 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 2 which permits the use of marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.

  • Yes 73%
  • No 22%

 

Amendment 3:

If the election were held today, it appears more than 85 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 3 which provides a tax exemption for totally and permanently disabled first responders.

  • Yes 85%
  • No 7%

 

Amendment 5:

If the election were held today, it appears 80 percent of voters would support the passage of Amendment 5 which provides a homestead tax exemption for certain senior low income, long term residents.

  • Yes 80%
  • No 9%

 

 

ABOUT THIS POLL:
The Florida Chamber of Commerce political poll was conducted on September 15-20, 2016 by Cherry Communications during live telephone interviews of likely voters, and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent. The sample size included 263 Democrats, 250 Republicans and 104 Others for a total of 617 respondents statewide. The samples for the polls conducted by the Florida Chamber are consistently drawn from likely voters and newly registered voters, meaning those voters who have the propensity and past performance of voting in elections, rather than simply including registered voters.  Voters are again screened for likelihood of voting.

 

 

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Sen. Jeff Brandes Discusses Diversifying Florida’s Economy on Bottom Line

Florida will continue to grow at a steady pace- in fact, between now and 2030 it’s estimated that there will be approximately 4-5 million new drivers on the road. Our state has a unique opportunity to meet challenges head on, like issues from infrastructure investments, building an innovation economy, ensuring we can diversify our economy and creating solar options for Floridians that make sense.

Click the video below to hear Sen. Jeff Brandes, 2016 Florida Chamber Honor Roll recipient, discuss these issues and more.

Want to hear more from Senator Brandes on military, defense and veteran opportunities? He will be a speaker at our annual Florida Chamber Foundation Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit on August 17 in St. Petersburg Florida. Click here to register or to learn more about the event.