Earth Doctor / Climate Troubadour

The Sunshine State

4/4, tempo 156  Key: A  (G capo2)

Florida’s the Sunshine State.   GGG C- GGG C-
It says so on the license plate.
So you might think that there would be  C7
Whole lot of solar energy.           GGG C- GGG C-
But you’d be wrong,                          A7
You’d be wrong.                                 C7

Monopolies are pretty sweet.
Profit margin can’t be beat.
Utilities have made it clear,
The sun ain’t gonna work down here.
Just too cloudy,                                    C7
Too cloudy in the Sunshine State !  A7 D7 G

Now along comes the Tea Party… 

People started makin’ noise:
Floridians for solar choice
They say energy democracy is
All about our liberty.
People got a right to choose            C7
The kind of power that we use.    C#dim D7  G
It’s all about freedom,                       C7
Freedom in the Sunshine State.     A7 D7 G—

Imagine Florida Power & Light         G
lawyers staying up all night,              G7
trying to see how they can keep        C7
taking money while we sleep.        A#dim
What an independence day           Bsus4  E7
When we take that power away.    A7 D7  D+
G Bsus4 E7  Am A7 D D+

‘Cause It ain’t the Russians or Chinese G
Keeping people on our knees.                 G7
It’s the way that corporations squeeze, C7
Clinging to monopolies.                         A#dim
And it’s why they buy the evening news, G  Em
Paying money to confuse,                           C D7
When everybody knows the truth,            Bsus4  E7
About those  panels on your roof:            Am  A#dim
It’s all about power, C7
Power in the Sunshine State. A7  D7   D+
(repeat, fade) Gmaj7/6 Bsus4 E7 Am D7

Words & music ©Doug Hendren 2017

What’s it about? Florida, the famous “Sunshine State” is way behind other parts of the country in developing solar energy. Why? The major “sunblock” is the main utility giant, Florida Power & Light, and their allies within the state legislature. Incredibly, they have actually justified this policy on the basis of inadequate sunshine, or “intermittent cloud cover”.

Why would a utility choose to avoid solar power? Simple. Although multiple studies have shown that solar lowers energy prices for all ratepayers, it may reduce profits for the utility shareholders. The utilities then make up silly things to try to justify policies which are profitable to them, but more costly for everyone else.

We have a similar situation here in Virginia. Our electrical grid is almost entirely controlled by Dominion Power, a legal monopoly. They are permitted by the State Corporations Commission to get a fixed return (around 10%) on their investments. The bigger the investment in energy sources, the more money they make. Therefore, a new and expensive investment (like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline running through virgin national forest over unstable terrain) is more profitable to Dominion than modifying stable, previously developed pipeline corridors. A perverse system of incentives leads Dominion, FP&L, and similar utilities to do things that can be both dangerous and not in the public interest. The perverse system of rewards is using the machinery of government to protect the fossil fuel industry from fair competition from renewables, which are now cheaper than fossil, and a great deal cheaper than nuclear.

Fortunately for Florida, activists came to the rescue. In this case, it was Tea Party conservatives, who correctly framed the issue as fundamentally a question of liberty and energy democracy.  The utilities tried to fool the public with a deceptive counter-campaign, Floridians For Solar Choice won the day. The first reference below tells the story in detail.

The irony here is that with its low elevation, large coastal exposure and porous geology, Florida has the highest overall risks from climate change and rising seas. See my songs Everglades Rolling In and Precarious Paradise.

Hats off to Floridians for Solar Choice! Keep your fingers crossed for Virginia.

Clouds over America’s Sunshine State

South Miami approves solar roof rules inspired by a teenager

Three Forces Fighting Local Renewable Energy, and Three Ways to Fight Back

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *