Florida League of Cities

Energy Resources (Oppose) – Passed

CS/CS/HB 1645 (Payne) and CS/SB 1624 (Collins) substantially revise various statutes relating to energy policy and regulation. The bills provide that a “Resiliency Facility” is a permitted use in all commercial, industrial, and manufacturing land use categories and districts, and specify that such facilities must comply with landscape and buffering requirements for similar uses. A Resiliency Facility is defined as a facility of a public utility used for assembling, creating, holding, or deploying natural gas reserves for temporary use during a system outage or natural disaster. The bills prohibit a local government, after July 2024, from amending its comprehensive plan or land development regulations in a manner that would conflict with a resiliency facility’s classification as a permitted use in all land use categories and districts. The bills remove current law requirements that direct state agencies to purchase “climate-friendly preferred products” and to contract with “Green Lodging” facilities. In addition, the bills remove current law provisions that require state agencies to purchase the most fuel-efficient vehicles. The bills require the Department of Management Services to develop a “Florida Human Preferred Energy Products List.” The development of the List must include consideration of products available for purchase under state contracts that include an energy storage device or energy generation device with specified storage capacity that appear largely free from forced labor. State agencies are prohibited from purchasing products not on the List. The bills include “development districts” as entities preempted from regulating utility fuel sources and gas appliances. The bills require a public utility to petition the Public Service Commission for approval before retiring an electric power plant. In addition, the bills authorize the Commission to approve voluntary public utility programs for residential EV charging if the program will not adversely affect the utility’s rate payers. The bills revise the goals and objectives of the state’s Energy Policy and eliminate various grants and programs relating to renewable energy, energy efficiency and climate. The bills prohibit a homeowner’s association from precluding the types of fuel sources of energy production used to serve consumers, and from precluding the use of gas appliances. The bills direct the Public Service Commission to assess, study and report on the following: modernization of the state’s electric grid; the security and resiliency of the state’s electric grid and natural gas facilities; and the feasibility of using advanced nuclear power technologies. The bills require the Department of Transportation to study and report on the potential development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. CS/CS/HB 1645 passed the Senate (28-12) and the House (81-29) and is awaiting action by the Governor. (O’Hara)