Sparked by a desire to promote clean energy, in 2010, the City of Sarasota debated creating a municipal utility vs. renewing a multi-year municipal franchise agreement. After several months of tense negotiations and lengthy public hearings, the City of Sarasota and Florida Power and Light Company entered into a Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Sustainability Agreement (the “Renewable Energy Agreement”). According to a memorandum from assistant City Attorney, Michael Connolly, Esq., “The purpose of the Renewable Energy Agreement is to set forth in a binding contract the covenants made by FPL which would be necessary consideration to support the City Commission passing on [the franchise agreement].”

Mr. Connolly highlighted the products and services to be provided by FPL to the City and its citizens during the 30-year term of the franchise agreement in the memorandum:

•           FPL will provide educational resources and programs to inform and instruct the City and its citizens on issues related to energy efficiency and conservation programs and on the benefits and technology associated with renewable energy.

•           Prior to December 31, 2015, FPL shall perform an energy audit on all of the City’s electric accounts.

•           Prior to December 31, 2015, FPL will perform an energy audit of the 100 largest electricity consuming accounts located within the municipal limits of the City.

•           Within every five-year period thereafter, FPL will perform an energy audit for all City accounts and the 50 other largest electricity consuming accounts within the municipal limits of the City.

•           FPL will pay for one City employee to obtain LEED certification.

•           FPL will establish an educational testing facility within the City including new solar photo voltaic panels.

•           In 2021 FPL will install 10 additional pole mounted photo voltaic panels.

•           In 2031 FPL will replace the initial five pole mounted photo voltaic panels.

•           FPL will develop a solar school within the municipal limits of the City by installing solar photo voltaic panels.

•           In 2021 FPL will provide another solar school installation.

•           In 2031 FPL will provide another solar school installation.

•           FPL will install five electric vehicle charging stations within the municipal limits of the City.

•           In 2016 FPL will provide an additional ten electric vehicle charging stations.

•           In 2021 FPL will replace the initial five electric vehicle charging stations.

•           In 2026 FPL will replace the second ten electric vehicle charging stations.

•           During the next 30 years, FPL will perform home energy makeovers for 1,500 homes within the municipal limits of the City.

•           During the next 30 years, FPL will perform 15 non-profit energy makeovers for non-profit entities within the municipal limits of the City.

•           Subject to the passage of enabling legislation, FPL will develop a large scale rooftop solar facility within the municipal limits of the City.

•           Subject to the passage of enabling legislation, FPL will develop and install a demonstration LED streetlight pilot program.

•           Subject to the passage of enabling legislation, FPL will develop a utility scale solar generation project (perhaps on the Verna Wellfield site).

The Renewable Energy Agreement runs concurrently with the term of the franchise set forth within Sarasota City Ordinance No. 10-4917. The Memorandum, as well as the franchise agreement and the public hearing testimony can be found on the City of Sarasota’s website at www.sarasotagov.com.