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Florida raises eyebrows with decision on $377 million of crucial federal funding: 'Negative implications for Florida residents'

Residents are missing out on the benefit of more affordable energy.

Energy-efficiency funding in Florida

Photo Credit: iStock

Last month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis rejected $377 million in federal energy-efficiency funding despite the Sunshine State experiencing record-setting heat.

Bloomberg reported the money included "hundreds of millions of dollars for energy-efficiency rebates and electrification as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as money from the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that became law in 2021."

What happened?

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Office of Energy withdrew applications for the funds after DeSantis vetoed a $5 million federal grant "to support the implementation of programs to distribute the energy-efficiency rebates," according to the Miami Times.

Electrek further reported the denied funding included $174 million for energy-efficiency improvement rebates, $173 million for energy-efficient home appliances, and $7 million for training electrification contractors.

"The decision to forgo these funds may have negative implications for Florida residents, as the programs would have led to lower utility bills, improved home comfort, and reduced greenhouse gas [pollution]," the Times stated.

The Inflation Reduction Act "supports reducing emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030," according to The Invading Sea. It also provides funds, programs, and incentives for the United States to "accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy."

Why is this important?

Miami, in particular, has been beset by oppressive heat this summer, as it marked its hottest year on record by early July, per WUSF Public Media.

But all of Florida is baking, and even the waters off South Florida have reached catastrophic temperatures for coral reefs, which support the area's biodiversity, shorelines, infrastructure, and economy.

The onslaught of heat is the result of a high-pressure system, or heat dome, CNN reports, compressing and warming the air and creating clear skies that keep rain away.

A breeze from the Gulf of Mexico is causing the humidity to rise as well, forming a dangerous combination — even for typically muggy Florida.

If the state had received the $377 million, its citizens would have likely benefited from more affordable energy.

What can be done?

One solution is for Floridians to use renewable energy, or sources of energy that are replenished naturally, like solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal.

Florida — the fourth-largest electricity consumer in the nation — produces toxic gases primarily through its transportation and electric power companies, according to the Florida Climate Institute. It used only 6% renewable energy in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The state may not offer rebates for energy efficiency or allow purchase power agreements, but its largest utility plans to move away from natural gas.

Florida Power and Light said it will cover 1% of the state's land mass with solar panels and that 

it could meet half of residential energy needs with this power.

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