Nikki Fried appears to be confident that her office will retain the Office of Energy despite the Florida House voting to move it to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The latest evidence is Monday’s announcement of a commission of “energy and climate professionals,” the Florida Advisory Council on Climate & Energy.
The panel, according to a release from the Agriculture Commissioner’s office, will advise the Office of Energy in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on “modernizing energy and climate policies, diversifying energy sources, increasing energy efficiency, and creating solutions for Florida’s energy and climate future.”
“Florida faces the nation’s greatest risk of extreme heat and flooding, increasingly frequent and devastating hurricanes, and destabilizing weather reshaping our lands, waters, farms, and cities. I believe we can best address these issues by bringing all stakeholders to the conversation,” Fried said.
“I’m proud to convene this diverse group of experts that will explore innovative solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our generation. From academic institutions to consumer advocates and environmental organizations to utilities, everyone has a seat at our table, and a stake in the fight against the climate crisis,” Fried added.
The prerogatives of Fried’s office have been under assault in recent months, with Republicans cognizant of the quickly approaching 2022 election. As the most high-profile Democrat in the state, the GOP would like to find a way to arrest her political ascent.
Endorsements for the panel came from the Sierra Club and NextEra Energy, two entities that don’t always align but will in this committee.
Susannah Randolph, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Florida, lauded “a variety of perspectives.”
And Mark Bubriski, Director of State Regulatory Relations for NextEra Energy, noted that the company was “the largest energy provider in the state and a global leader for clean energy.”
NextEra is the parent of Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Gulf Power.
The membership of the Florida Advisory Council on Climate & Energy includes the following names from a wide variety of sectors:
Florida Energy Systems Consortium
- Dr. David Norton, Director of Florida Energy Systems Consortium and Vice President of Research, University of Florida
- Dr. Amy Albee-Levine, Dean of Workplace Development, Lake Sumter Community College
Florida City or County
- The Honorable Janet Long, Commissioner, Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners
- Megan Houston, Director, Palm Beach County Office of Resilience
Clean Cities Coalition
- Doug Kettles, Director, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition
- Luis Nieves-Ruiz, Economic Development Manager, East Central Florida Regional Planning Council
- Frank Stewart, Manager, FLFM Stewart & Company
- Steve Chriss, Director of Energy Services, Walmart
- The Honorable Matt Surrency, Mayor, City of Hawthorne
- Andrew Sauber, Director of Corporate Sustainability, Florida Crystals
- Emily Gorman, Sierra Club Organizing Representative and Miami Climate Alliance Steering Committee Chair
- Temperince Morgan, Executive Director, The Nature Conservancy in Florida
- Susannah Randolph, Senior Campaign Representative, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign
Investor Owned Utility
- Mark Bubriski, Director of State Regulatory Relations, NextEra Energy
- Lus Avilles, Vice President of Customer Service, Orlando Utilities Commission
- Tony Guillen, Director of Engineering & Operations, Talquin Electric
- Keith Rizzaedi, Special Counsel, St. Thomas University School of Law
- Morgan Higman, Doctoral Candidate, Florida State University
- Dr. Jennifer Languell, President, Trifecta Construction Solutions
- Jeremy Susac, Vice President of Government Affairs, Lennar
Regional Planning Council
- Patricia “Pat” Steed, Executive Director, Central Florida Regional Planning Council
- Sean Sullivan, Executive Director, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
- William Blake, Director Alternative Fuels, Tampa Electric Company
Renewable Natural Gas
- Anddrikk Frazer, President & CEO, Integral Energy
- Berdell Knowles, Task Force Leader, American Association of Blacks in Energy, Florida Chapter
- Jennifer Szaro, Vice President, Smart Electric Power Alliance