Analysis shows significant demand from commercial and industrial customers for renewable energy could result in investment of up to $1 billion per year and create nearly 60,000 jobs through 2030 from solar energy development in Florida
TALLAHASSEE, December 12, 2019 – Today national business association Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) released a new report showing that Florida could benefit from $1 billion dollars in investment and tens of thousands of jobs if commercial and industrial (C&I) businesses had more options to procure renewable energy through their electric utilities.
“Opportunities for Meeting Commercial and Industrial Demand for Renewable Energy in Florida,” prepared for AEE by WoodMackenzie, an independent research and consulting firm focused on the energy, chemicals, and metals and mining industries, estimates the potential demand for renewable energy from C&I companies over the next 10 years, and quantifies the economic impact of meeting that demand with development of solar power facilities in the state.
Across the country, more and more companies are choosing renewable energy to power their operations, in order to lower energy costs, protect against fluctuations in electric rates, and meet corporate sustainability goals. But currently, Florida C&I customers have limited options to meet their needs from renewable energy projects within the state. The most promising mechanism to unlock future C&I renewable energy purchases in Florida is through renewable energy plans offered by utilities, which could develop in-state projects taking advantage of the state’s abundant solar resources.
“Florida has an opportunity to offer programs for companies to get the renewable energy they want,“ said Gloria Li, Policy Associate at AEE. “This report reveals a real and immediate need for accelerated solar buildout in order to attract and retain these companies in our state, generating a billion dollars of investment and tens of thousands of jobs along the way.”
The report examines two scenarios – a Baseline case and a Growth case – to estimate demand for renewable energy from C&I customers in Florida. Then the report calculates the range of economic benefits – in investment, jobs, and income – that would result from meeting this demand with in-state solar energy development. (While the cost of solar energy has come down steadily in recent years, wind power is not competitive in Florida due to limited on-shore wind resources.)
Findings of the report include:
- Significant growth in renewable energy demand is expected from large energy users from now until 2030, ranging from 3.14 gigawatts (GW) under the Baseline scenario to 6.75 GW under the Growth scenario.
- If this growing demand is met, Florida would see $492 million to $1 billion a year in capital investment and 27,000 to more than 48,000* jobs created over the next 10 years. This includes roughly 6,000 to 13,000 permanent operations and maintenance jobs, and between 20,000 and 44,000 temporary construction jobs throughout this period.
- Wages created by renewable energy development in Florida through 2030 would range from $2.35 billion to $4.97 billion.
“Companies are setting ever more ambitious sustainability goals for themselves, and they should be able to meet them here in Florida,” said Li. “Letting these companies get the renewable energy they want from their electric utilities would fuel a solar energy boom, create jobs, and boost the entire Florida economy.”
*This post was updated Mar. 4, 2020 to accurately reflect jobs figure sourced from the associated report.
- Making Corporate Renewable Energy Purchasing Work for All Utility Customers and Essential Elements of Next-Generation Renewable Energy Tariffs policy briefs are here.
- Fact Sheet: Today Florida has 174,000 people working in advanced energy, more than those in real estate, triple those in ag jobs, with 5% growth expected in 2019.
About Advanced Energy Economy:
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. Engaged at the federal level and in more than a dozen states around the country, including Florida, AEE represents more than 100 companies in the $238 billion U.S. advanced energy industry, which employs 3.5 million U.S. workers. Learn more at www.aee.net, track the latest news @AEEnet.