Governor Crist Promotes Investment in and Production of Florida’s Biofuels

Jul 31, 2008

 

~ Addresses Farm to Fuel Summit participants, signs grant agreement for LYNX Bio-Diesel Transit Bus Project~

ORLANDO – Governor Charlie Crist today encouraged investment in Florida’s renewable energy industry while addressing attendees in Orlando at the 2008 Farm to Fuel Summit, hosted by Commissioner Charles Bronson and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  Governor Crist praised investors and producers of ethanol and biofuels for their efforts to develop renewable energy. Later this morning, Governor Crist will join Linda Watson, chief executive officer of LYNX – Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, to sign an agreement that awards $2.5 million to use biodiesel to fuel public transportation in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.

“I am committed to developing Florida as a green technology business hub, and investment in the production of ethanol and other biofuels will strengthen Florida’s economy and help us to meet our goals to reduce greenhouse gases,” Governor Crist said.  “Florida’s clean energy future will benefit Florida’s economy, environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Governor Crist highlighted Florida’s historic, comprehensive energy and economic development legislation, which was created by the 2008 Florida Legislature and signed by the Governor at last month’s 2008 Serve to Preserve Florida Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami. As proposed by the Governor, the legislation expands the previously existing renewable energy grants program to include energy efficiency projects.  The 2008-09 budget includes $7 million for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, with another $8 million for bioenergy projects to be administered by the new Florida and Energy and Climate Commission, also created by the legislation.

The Farm to Fuel Summit promotes the production, distribution, and use of renewable fuels, particularly ethanol. The Farm to Fuel initiative was created by the 2006 Legislature to enhance the market for and promote the production and distribution of renewable energy from Florida-grown crops, agricultural wastes and residues, and other biomass and to enhance to value of agriculture products or expand Florida’s agribusiness.

As part of the Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program, the $2.5 million grant to LYNX creates a private-public partnership that will work toward transforming Orlando’s public transportation into green transportation.  The funds will be used to construct state-of-the-art technology for biodiesel blending, storage and dispensing.  All fleets within LYNX will use a B-20 blend – a mixture of 20 percent biodiesel with 80 percent fossil diesel.

The project will enable LYNX to reduce its use of fossil fuel by 1.2 million gallons and lower its carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 26 million pounds each year.  LYNX will be the first transit agency in the nation to own, operate and produce “on demand” blending to fully convert its fleet. It will also be the first to distribute custom blending to a partnership of other local governmental agencies such as the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando Utility Commission.

About the Florida Renewable Energy Grant Program

The Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program was created by the 2006 Florida Energy Act to provide renewable energy matching grants for demonstration, commercialization, research and development projects relating to renewable energy technologies. The grant program is designed to stimulate capital investment throughout Florida and promote and enhance the use of renewable energy technologies.

The 2007 Florida Legislature appropriated $12.5 million for the grant program, for projects that generate or utilize other renewable energy resources, including hydrogen, biomass, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, ocean energy, waste heat and hydroelectric power.

For more information about Governor Crist’s actions to address global climate change through increased energy efficiency and the use of renewable and alternative energy, please visit www.MyFloridaClimate.com or www.flgov.com.