Governor Crist Sets New Energy and Environmental Agenda for Florida

On Friday, July 13, 2007, Governor Charlie Crist signed three executive orders that will move Florida from “business as usual” to a national leadership position in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction.

The first executive order (#07-126) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 20kb] requires state government agencies to “walk the walk.”  Among other things, it requires that green house gasses (GHG) resulting from state operations be reduced by 10% in the next 4 years and then consistently over time to 40% below current levels by 2025.  It establishes the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and ENERGY STAR buildings standards as the new “standard practice” for state facilities.  It also directs the establishment of vehicle emissions “baseline” for the government’s state-owned vehicle fleet and then, for new vehicles, the purchase of “only those vehicles with the greatest fuel efficiency in a given class.”

The second order (#07-127) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 23kb] establishes state-wide GHG emission targets.  The Order set targets of reaching 2000 levels by 2017 and 1990 levels by 2025.  The ultimate goal is to reduce 1990 levels by 80% by 2050.  Among other things, this Order directs adoption of maximum allowable GHG emissions by utilities and adoption of the California motor vehicle emission standards.  It also directs the Department of Community Affairs to increase the energy performance of new buildings by 15% through the Florida Building Code.  Additionally, this order requests the Florida Public Service Commission to initiate rulemaking by September 1, 2007, to require Florida utilities to “produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable sources (Renewable Portfolio Standard) with a strong focus on solar and wind energy.”  The order also requests adoption of IEEE Standard 1547 for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems as the statewide standard for utility interconnection and the adoption of net metering on a state-wide basis.

Order number three (#07-128) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 17kb] creates the “Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change to develop a comprehensive Energy and Climate Change Action Plan that will fully achieve or surpass Executive Order targets for statewide greenhouse gas reductions specified in Executive Order 07-127.”  The Governor will appoint the members of this Action Team and it will be staffed and supported by agencies under his direction, specifically the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Transportation.  The resulting Action Plan is to be completed in two phases, with Phase I completed by November 1, 2007 and Phase II completed by October 1, 2008.

In addition, the Governor also signed international agreements with the United Kingdom [Adobe Acrobat PDF 155kb] and the Federal Republic of Germany [Adobe Acrobat PDF 125kb]. Florida joins each nation in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and calls for immediate worldwide action. Florida hopes to strengthen ties with each country while improving upon the science and technologies used for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving public policies and overall increasing climate-friendly commerce between Florida, the United Kingdom and Germany.

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Florida Solar Energy Center Researchers Receive Honor at the 15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference

Dr. Ali T-Raissi and Dr. Cunping Huang of the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) received the Innovative Technology Award at the 15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Yokohama, Japan earlier this month. The award was presented to the hydrogen research scientists for their work on “A New Solar Thermochemical Water-Splitting Cycle for Hydrogen Production.” It was the only award presented to research scientists from the U.S.

The World Hydrogen Energy Conference provided a setting for scientists to present their research on methods to provide the world with clean energy, including a new paradigm featuring hydrogen. The budding hydrogen economy will be brought about by emerging science and technologies such as those featured at the conference.

The research conducted by Drs. Huang and Raissi was initially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is now part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant for a hydrogen research and development program funded by NASA Glenn Research Center, involving research at several Florida universities. The program is managed by FSEC.

Dr. Huang, principal investigator for this project, said, “I am honored to receive this award. To have my work recognized by the leaders of this conference is, indeed, an honor.” Dr. Raissi added that “This is a real honor for us since our work was recognized by the scientific committee of WHEC-15 and especially the committee’s chair Professor Hideo Kameyama, who is the world-renowned researcher in the thermochemical hydrogen production arena and the inventor of the famous UT-3 cycle.”

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, but on earth, it is chemically reactive and exists at normal conditions in combination with other elements such as oxygen in water or carbon in natural gas. This leads to a technical problem with hydrogen: it must be produced or extracted from the compound in which it is contained. In the long term, hydrogen must be produced from sustainable resources such as solar energy and water. In their research, Drs. Raissi and Huang address the production of hydrogen through high-temperature thermochemical water-splitting cycles.

The use of thermochemical water-splitting cycles (TCWSCs) employing solar energy as a heat source is an innovative approach to produce hydrogen. It presents a viable option for the future production of hydrogen. TCWSCs can be highly efficient processes compared to other hydrogen production methods based on water splitting.

Several presentations submitted by FSEC researchers were presented at the conference. To view their presentations, please visit The Florida Solar Energy Center is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development organization in the United States and functions as the State’s energy research and training center. For more information about FSEC’s hydrogen research programs, visit or call FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015 or go to