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FSEC Policy Advisory Board
Meeting Minutes

February 27, 2009

Attendees:   Judy Albertson, Paul Allen, John Anderson, Addison Bain, Tommy Boroughs, Griff Carrison, Pete DeNapoli, Mike Draper, Mike Faas, John Fix, Steve Gorman, C.T. Hsu, Robert Jenkins, Colleen Kettles, Syd Kitson, Roger Messenger, Louis Rotundo, Robert Salonen (on behalf of Lynda Weatherman), M.J. Soileau, Jeremy Susac (call-in, on behalf of Alexander Mack), Mickie Valente, David Winslow

Guest:    Al Harms (UCF)

  1. Chairman Tommy Boroughs called the meeting to order at 10:10 a.m. and welcomed the Board members and guests.  PAB members and FSEC staff introduced themselves.  C.T. Hsu announced that his firm has purchased a semiconductor plant in Orlando.
  2. Motion made by Roger Messenger to accept the Minutes of the September 11, 2008, meeting and seconded by John Fix.  Minutes approved as submitted. 
  3. Tommy Boroughs advised the Board that he has appointed an Executive Committee consisting of himself, Syd Kitson, Louis Rotundo and M.J. Soileau.  They have had one meeting by conference call.
  4. Jim Fenton presented a review of FSEC activities, including the status of the OPPAGA (Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability) review of September 29, 2008, and results of the FSEC External Team Review on October 6-7, 2008, the Strategic Plan and the federal stimulus package.  This $16.8 billion stimulus is to be spent by October 2009 (EERE, HUD, other energy-related programs).  Dr. Soileau stated that it is unknown exactly how the proposals will be selected, and emphasized that there will be a flood of applications like we have never seen.
  5. Griff Carrison asked about what is causing the testing and certification delays – staffing, or what?  Jim Fenton’s response was that the delays are being caused by many things – many steps need to be completed; additional equipment is needed, an increase in personnel is needed, etc.   Steve Gorman asked what our goal timeline is from submission to completion of test, and Jim Fenton and Philip Fairey advised that our goal is 120 days.  Dr. Soileau stated that this issue needs to be fixed and it will be fixed.
  6. Griff Carrison stated that Sarasota County has formed a task force on solar water heating utilities.
  7. Judy Albertson asked if FSEC can make a saleable product to make money, and Dr. Soileau mentioned the issue of intellectual property.
  8. Louis Rotundo stated that there are nearly a dozen “energy-related” bills on the floor this session, but they aren’t really energy related.  Rep. Keith Fitzgerald is sponsoring HB 1317 on Renewable Energy, which would establish the "Florida Renewable Energy Freedom Act." Tommy Boroughs stated that the Legislature needs to look at those things we can actually implement toward creating a renewable market;  Lee Constantine said he would be in favor of a feed-in tariff.
  9. Discussion of Board business:   Pete DeNapoli asked what we can do to help with all of this.  Dr. Soileau stated that the University must all go through the Florida Board of Governors, and FSEC can be an information resource, but cannot take a political position.  The Advisory Board can support any documentation of the Legislature.  It is also appropriate for us to work with the Brevard Legislative Delegation and provide information to them.  The priority-setting is done through the Board of Trustees and then the Board of Governors.  UCF can work with us in getting to the appropriate Legislative entities.  Louis Rotundo asked what instructions have been given by the Board to the University lobbyists.  Dr. Soileau stated that the University cannot set policy.
    1.  Tommy Boroughs suggested that the members consider have three meetings a year instead of two.  No decision was made at this time.
  10. Group broke briefly for lunch buffet and reconvened at 12:40 p.m.
  11. Pete DeNapoli said the Board of Trustees needs to come to FSEC and recommended that the Advisory Board enable FSEC to directly provide information to Florida Legislators on the importance of aggressive education and training and certification programs to create new jobs; allow FSEC to offer views on the appropriate mechanisms to stimulate deployment.  Roger Messenger stated that there is a strong need to upgrade the testing facility to get rid of the backlog.  Pete DeNapoli said it may be important to let the Legislature know about the testing issues.  Louis Rotundo said what is needed now is for the long term; start this process in June.  For the short term, we need to say this is a priority for the University.  The PAB needs to instruct the University lobbyist to obtain some of the funding out of the federal stimulus package.  Dr. Soileau stated this Board will take that message to the Legislature.  Pete DeNapoli then made the following motion:
    1. Recommend that the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) Policy Advisory Board directly provide information to the Florida legislators and agencies on the importance of aggressive and immediate education, training and certification programs on solar energy as a means of creating new jobs, providing energy security, and assuring the public safety through the use of solar energy.
    2. Additionally, the FSEC Policy Advisory Board views the use of appropriate incentive mechanisms (like feed-in tariffs) as a method to stimulate the rapid deployment, utilization and creation of jobs in Florida.
    3. Roger Messenger moved that we support our Chairman; Steve Gorman seconded.  Motion passed.
  12. Jeremy Susac called in at 1:15 p.m. and led a discussion of Florida Energy & Climate Commission activities.  Dr. Fenton asked if there was anything new to add in the way of stimulus funding in energy areas.  Mr. Susac replied that they have asked for guidelines, which were supposed to be out this week, but that did not happen, so hopefully next week; too many incentives right now.  Griff asked if nuclear was included in the draft goals, and Mr. Susac said no, but it was included in the report.  Dr. Fenton asked about the FESC role; FSEC does not have a direct role.  Mr. Susac replied that was correct, but we could be working as one and then Tommy could report to the Commission.  Steve Gorman:  Any numbers to the Legislature regarding funding of the rebate program?  Mr. Susac:  We put in for $5M, but will probably use stimulus dollars when they become available.  Tommy Boroughs asked about feed-in tariffs like GRU has done with solar, and Mr. Susac stated that it was too premature; we need something to stimulate solar, stimulate renewables. 
  13. Tommy Boroughs suggested we have someone at a higher level from FPL and/or Progress Energy meet with us and then talk to Jeremy Susac.
  14. Meeting adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Tommy Boroughs