From left to right: Josh Cohen (Greenlots), Dylan Reed (AEE), Gloria Li (AEE), Andrew Apgar (Schneider Electric), Adam Mohabbat (EVgo), Eric McCarthy (Proterra)
With January right around the corner, many states are gearing up for the 2020 legislative session by filing bills and holding preliminary hearings. As a state with major opportunity for advanced energy, Florida is a place where AEE has been actively engaged in preparation for next year. On October 23, AEE and our member companies flew to Tallahassee to present to the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee and meet with legislators to discuss the trends and opportunities of advanced energy, specifically in electric vehicles, solar, and energy efficiency. Our message was clear: Advanced energy offers many benefits to Florida, including increased consumer choice and economic opportunity through job creation.
Earlier in October, at the Florida Energy and Climate Summit, we released our Florida Employment Fact Sheet, which showed that more than 174,000 people are working in the advanced energy industry in the Sunshine State. AEE presented these findings at the Summit to document the economic opportunity of advanced energy, noting that employment in the sector expanded by 5% last year, more than double the 2% growth in Florida jobs overall.
AEE was then invited by the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee to present on the current state of advanced energy in Florida. “We’re calling this [topic] ‘advanced energy technologies,’” said Subcommittee Chairman Charlie Stone in opening the meeting. “Now, you may call it ‘alternative energy,’ or ‘clean energy,’ or whatever you choose to do so, but we’re really talking about the future of energy.”
In his presentation, AEE Director Dylan Reed shared the employment outlook and analysis found in the 2019 Florida Employment Fact Sheet and highlighted the top three opportunities for Florida advanced energy in the coming year: 1) the prospect of robust job creation, 2) consumer savings from solar, energy efficiency, and storage, and 3) the potential for electric vehicles.
In addition, AEE member companies Greenlots, Proterra, and Schneider Electric presented their experience in Florida and the opportunities to expand the market in the state. Greenlots and Proterra shared some of their successful EV-related projects in Florida and how they reflected trends in the national transit market. The presentations echoed the barriers and opportunities discussed during an EV Industry Roundtable that AEE hosted earlier this year in Tampa, which convened municipal and investor-owned utilities, state agencies, and AEE member companies.
The Subcommittee showed particular interest in what other states were doing to encourage EV adoption, the potential for integrating renewables and battery storage with EV charging infrastructure, and the current availability of EV charging infrastructure for the public. With this session coming at the tail end of the 2019 hurricane season, there was also the ever-present concern about evacuation, pointing to the need for EV charging infrastructure to be sited strategically along evacuation corridors in the state.
To see video of AEE and member presentations to the Subcommittee, click here.
AEE staff and members speak with Sen. Randolph Bracy on the barriers to and opportunities for EVs in Florida.
In meetings after the Committee presentation, AEE and our members met with over a dozen legislative offices. These positive meetings demonstrated that policymakers are interested in learning how the state can maximize the benefits of advanced energy.
Heading into the 2020 session, we look forward to continuing to work with lawmakers and key stakeholders in Florida and inform them of the benefits that advanced energy can provide to consumers and the economy. Florida has a chance to lead on advanced energy, and AEE is ready to work to make that a reality for the Sunshine State.