Southeast Florida

Southeast Florida


Background Information

The Southeast Florida 2012 Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP) includes a general goal and recommendations to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency. The RCAP is a collaborative effort of four counties that together make up the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact): Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties. The Compact will be updating the RCAP next year and working to develop specific, quantitative clean energy goals and strategies and to connect those goals with other regional imperatives, such as reducing
poverty and improving community resilience.

Some counties and cities within the region have set their own goals for renewable energy. For example, Broward County has established goals to supply 20% of its organizational energy needs with renewable energy (timeline yet to be established) and to transition the community to 30% renewable energy by 2030, through a Renewable Energy Action Plan and Community Energy Strategic Plan, respectively. Those plans also begin to contemplate strategies for implementation. Miami-Dade County is likely to adopt a goal to increase renewable energy 5% by 2020, though the goal has not yet been formally approved. Palm Beach and Monroe Counties have not yet set specific renewable energy goals.

The region is served primarily by Florida Power and Light Company (FPL), which generates power from natural gas and nuclear sources and is considering construction of additional nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point facility in Miami-Dade County. The average residential rate for FPL in 2015 was 10.65 cents/KWh, which makes it challenging for solar to compete. Since Florida does not have statewide or utility-specific renewable portfolio standard targets, utilities like FPL have little incentive to grow their renewable portfolio. However, there are other financing and energy efficiency incentives that are expanding in the region, such as property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing options. In addition, Miami Beach has adopted a Green Building Ordinance, which requires large building projects to achieve LEED Gold or Living Buildings Challenge certification, or to pay a fee into a citywide sustainability fund, which could be tapped for municipal renewable energy projects.

Promising Practices

  • The Compact is one of the leading examples of regional climate change governance nationally and globally.
  • Inspired by the Rebuild by Design competition for post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding in New York and New Jersey, and Dutch Dialogues in New Orleans and other sites, the Compact organized Resilient Redesign charrettes for the past two years (and is currently organizing the 2016 edition) to apply design thinking to specific urban environments in Southeast Florida. This helps spark innovative ideas and generates new approaches to dealing with sea level rise and other climate impacts.
  • Broward County led the Go SOLAR Florida initiative, an alliance of several local governments in Florida (including Miami-Dade County) to develop a streamlined electronic local government permitting system for solar projects, under a DOE SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge grant.

Major Challenges

  • Fostering the political will necessary to advance renewable energy and overcome entrenched interests. The lack of state policies and incentives to promote renewable energy.
  • Climate adaptation efforts often take precedence over energy issues, due to urgency of flooding and other climate impacts.
  • Advancing energy equity given the high level of inequality in Southeast Florida. Policies need to ensure that renewable energy strategies do not focus predominantly on middle and upper-income residents (e.g., PACE financing and tax breaks).
  • Most of the region’s governments do not have adequate access to community energy information (with the exception of those served by municipal utilities or cooperatives). FPL provides information at an aggregated level (zip-code or higher). The region also strives to build a common platform for data compilation and analysis to aid comparisons and regional analyses.