Florida Develops Renewable Fuel Sources

Source: Miami Herald (12/30/07) P. E1; Swartz, Kristi E.

Posted on: 01/02/2008

Some people believe biomass--plant material, vegetation, or agricultural waste--will someday become an important energy source in Florida . The state's Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson says Florida should grow at least 30 percent of its yearly fuel supply.

However, he wants farmers to grow their staple fruits and vegetables first before planting any additional biomass crops. In December, President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act, which mandates the use of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022.

That amount is about fivefold the level currently consumed, the White House says. To this end, five ethanol plants have been planned statewide, of which only one would rely on corn. The remainder would manufacture the fuel using plant wastes, including a planned FPL Energy plant that would burn citrus peels.

Progress Energy Florida and Biomass Gas and Electric intend to construct a 75 Mw wood-waste plant in Liberty County that would power 50,000 homes. Progress has also agreed to purchase power from Biomass Investment Group (BIG), which plans to build an E-grass-fired power plant. BIG plans to grow E-grass on 20,000 acres. The state also has 11 waste-to-energy plants that combust trash to create electricity.