Going green: Conservatives for Clean Energy launches in Florida

FPL Solar
An advocacy group geared toward educating conservatives on green energy has set up shop in Florida.

An advocacy group geared toward educating conservatives on green energy has set up shop in Florida.

Conservatives for Clean Energy announced the launch of a Florida branch on Tuesday.

CCE said it advocates for “all of the above” energy policy, including investments in renewables such as solar and wind. Notably, CCE Florida Director Kendall Kelley said “all of the above” doesn’t include offshore drilling.

Along with the announcement, CCE released a poll showing Florida residents are already gung-ho for expanding the state’s green energy portfolio.

The measure found 91 percent of Sunshine State voters think Florida needs to accelerate the growth of clean energy. Nearly as many believe property owners should be able to produce energy on their own land.

Additionally, 60 percent of voters who self-identify as “very conservative” said they would support an “all of the above” energy policy.

CCE already has state-level efforts underway in other southeastern states, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

The North Carolina branch has already seen success — 57 North Carolina counties had invested $1 million or more into renewables by 2013, and the solar sector alone was pumping $1.1 billion a year into the state’s economy.

And Kelley said the economic angle is how the group plans to get conservative lawmakers — and the public — on board in the Sunshine State.

The group isn’t pushing for any bills in the upcoming 2020 Legislative Session, though Kelley did point to legislation filed by St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes that would set up the “Energy 2040 Task Force” within the Public Service Commission. CCE is hoping to influence more Republican lawmakers to take the lead on clean energy bills.

Ahead of the Florida launch, CCE started spreading that message to conservatives via a panel discussion moderated by U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The event saw former state Rep. George Moraitis, Florida Power & Light project manager Geoffrey West, North Carolina state Rep. John Szoka and South Carolina state Rep. Nathan Ballentine discuss new clean energy technologies and how implementing them could improve national security.

A brief video of the panel discussion is below.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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