Drill baby, drill …

The Institute for Energy Systems, Economics and Sustainability‘s  David Cartes is annoyed.

He had sincerely hoped that Sen. Jim King, Chairman of  Florida’s Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, would  deliver a clean energy strategy and not simply a renewable portfolio standard. Cartes clearly mentioned this in an April 4 Letters to the Editor in the Florida Times-Union.

Prof. David Cartes

Prof. David Cartes

But earlier this week,  the Senate and Gov. Charlie  Crist, were suddenly attacked by H.R. 1219, the House’s off-shore drilling bill – too complicated, they said, to consider by Friday, the scheduled end of this year’s legislative session.

In all fairness, however,  Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday that he was not willing to tie the oil-drilling proposal to his own plan which would require 20 percent of Florida’s power to come from renewable sources by 2020.

This is pushing me over the edge,” Cartes said on Tuesday.  “We had the opportunity to drill for natural gas.” Cartes had just spoken with Energy and Utilities Policy Committee Chair Rep. Paige Kreegel and apparently was still on edge.

UPDATE: “Drilling is a necessary evil, because of our huge need for cleaner natural gas energy,” Cartes wrote in an  e-mail clarification, “… this is pushing me over the edge [towards accepting drilling].”

Cartes is a smart guy, being a mechanical engineer, which is probably why he’s director of Florida State University’s IESES. For those who might not know, FSU is in Tallahassee, just a  stone’s throw from both the Executive and Legislative branches.

It’s not like Gov. Charlie Crist or Sen. Jim King of JACKSONVILLE, weren’t able to ask Cartes for his opinion or anything.

Sen James E. "Jim" King  (904) 727-3600 9485 Regency Square Blvd.

Sen James E. "Jim" King (904) 727-3600 9485 Regency Square Blvd.

Cartes also is Associate Director of  the Center for Advanced Power Systems.   CAPS is basically “an academic-industrial consortium focused on the application of recent advances in power semiconductors, materials, advanced controls and superconductivity to advanced power system technologies.”  The Center works in co-operation with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. CAPS also has the co-operation of the Electric Ship Research and Development Consortium. The ESRDC brings together in a single entity the combined programs and resources of leading electric power research institutions for research on near to mid-term electric ship concepts.”

The Office of Naval Research manages the ESRDC. And as EVERYONE knows, the U.S. Navy is especially well-liked in Jacksonville.

Cartes is absolutely convinced Florida needs a “smart” energy grid. This means a diversified energy portfolio. In his opinion,  SOLAR is a key player of that portfoliolio. He’d like to see SOLAR PANELS on Florida rooftops.

Much like what JACKSONVILLE ELECTRIC AUTHORITY,  the “largest community-owned utility in Florida,”  is attempting to do with it’s Solar Incentive Program.

JEA, as we’ll recall, is also required to achieve 20 percent of its power to come from renewable sources by 2020.
The environmental performance of the GE units burning natural gas makes JEA's Brandy Branch one of the cleanest electric generation plants in the world.   courtesy JEA

The environmental performance of the GE units burning natural gas makes JEA's Brandy Branch one of the cleanest electric generation plants in the world. courtesy JEA

Cartes said a combination of NUCLEAR and solar should play a strategic roll in Florida’s DIVERSFIED energy mix to include NATURAL GAS because (of something extremely complicated) – no energy storage capacity and peak operating times.

For those who don’t have a doctorate in mechanical engineering or run an electric system serving more than 360,000 418,000 customers, like the Florida Executive and Legislative branches,  OFF-SHORE DRILLING FOR NATURAL GAS  might be taken up for consideration in the next legislative session.

— k. a. gardner

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