At a time when solar power in the United States has grown by leaps and bounds, the Republican governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has done nothing to support the industry. The “Sunshine State,” with more solar potential than all but a couple of other states, ranks 18th for installed solar power capacity. Furthermore, while solar leasing and PPAs dominate in solar juggernaut California, they aren’t even legal in Florida, and Rick Scott hasn’t done anything to push for their legalization. In fact, Scott hasn’t done anything at all to support solar power.
I have many issues with Rick Scott. In fact, I think he’s the worst governor in the history of Florida. But the fact that he doesn’t support solar energy or any other type of clean energy in a state that is genuinely threatened by sea level rise gets me boiling. And I’m not the only one.
150–200 people recently held a rally outside of Duke Energy’s office in St Petersburg in order to push for better solar policies, and against the lack of action from the Scott administration in the past few years. Organized by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, it even included tea party activists. Of course, from Arizona to Georgia, many tea party activists are big fans of solar, and have been teaming up with greens to help its growth in their states. I think we first documented the alliance back in 2011.
Ironically, Scott is a tea partier who has made former Florida governor Charlie Crist look like a Democrat. In fact, Crist is back, not flying under the Republican banner but the Democrat one, challenging Scott for governor. Utilities such as Duke Energy are not excited about Crist, because he’s pushing strong for more supportive solar policies that put more power in the hands of consumers and limit the utility stranglehold on electricity profits.
As a Floridian, it’s embarrassing to come from the Sunshine State these days (well, it’s been embarrassing for a while). As Think Progress notes, “in the last quarter of last year, Georgia installed more solar than Florida installed in the last three years of Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.”
“Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but with their policies, they’re effectively blocking the sun,” a tea party activist, Debbie Dooley, stated at the recent rally. Indeed.
Aside from the rally noted above, a petition with signatures from 92,000+ Florida residents was recently delivered to Rick Scott’s office, asking him to do something about the global warming crisis. I think many of us know there’s much more than hair missing from Scott’s head, and no positive movements to support solar, clean energy, climate action, or the people of Florida on the whole, under Scott. He needs to go.
Get out and vote this week, and if you’re in Florida, punch a whole for not-ideal-but-much-better-than-Scott Charlie Crist!
Related (hence the memes above and below):