Preparing Florida’s Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development

Think about it. Florida is already the third largest state in America and we’re growing by over 1,000 new residents every day. We have 21 million residents and we’ll grow by five million more by 2030. By then, we’ll have three million more drivers on our roads, 50 million more visitors and we’ll need 20 percent more water. The good news is that Florida’s business leaders have a plan and it’s getting traction. This is good for Florida, good for job creation and it’s a great way to Secure Florida’s Future.

While we’re growing, Florida is also becoming more diverse. Aging Baby Boomers will continue to swell Florida’s elder population and at the same time, the Millennial and GenX generations are growing as a share of Florida’s total population. As Florida’s population changes, it is important that our infrastructure systems respond to their changing needs. Creating long-term investments in Florida’s transportation, energy, water, telecommunications and agriculture infrastructure is essential. Our infrastructure needs to support growing demand as well as a wide range of options – from sustainable water solutions to autonomous transportation systems.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030 research outlines where Florida needs to be by 2030 to remain globally competitive. To secure Florida’s future, we must consider the water and energy needs for nearly five million more residents, be ready for the hard and soft infrastructure needs like broader telecommunications, improved roadways and railways, air, space and sea ports, ensure Floridians can connect to job opportunities, education, healthcare options, each other and the world, as well as support continued economic growth while preserving Florida’s essential environment and community assets.

 

How Do We Make Sure Florida Is Prepared for Smarter Growth?

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, chaired by former Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad, is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s likely focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And, here at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments. As part of the Florida Chamber’s continuing efforts, we are working closely with state leaders like Senate President Bill Galvano to enact smarter growth policies that meet Florida’s long-term needs and will, this week, present recommendations the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition has prepared for Florida’s elected officials to consider.

The Florida Chamber understands the importance innovation and technology play in Florida’s future- specifically as they relate to Florida’s infrastructure future. Florida 2030 research estimates that by 2030, more than 25 percent of all miles driven (including freight) could be by autonomous vehicles. With guidance and leadership from state leaders like Senator Jeff Brandes, Syd Kitson of Babcock Ranch and Grayson Brulte of Brulte & Company, the Florida Chamber created Autonomous Florida, a statewide initiative that works to ensure Florida continues leading the way in autonomous transportation. Our vision? To make Florida the autonomous capital of “all things autonomous” in North America.

I believe Florida will continue to grow and we can remain competitive if we plan better for the next five million residents than we did for the last five million.

 

This week, leaders from around Florida and the nation will gather at American’s first solar powered town, Babcock Ranch for the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Growth & Infrastructure Summit, to discuss the future of Florida’s transportation and infrastructure systems, as well as outline the strategies needed to grow smarter. Governor-elect DeSantis, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva have all signaled an interest in keeping innovation and infrastructure at the core of Florida’s economic development future. This is great news as we fight to Secure Florida’s Future.

December 10, 2018

Florida Chamber of Commerce Doubles Down On Infrastructure and Growth Leadership Efforts

Infrastructure Coalition to Serve as Unified Voice of Business Preparing for Florida’s Future Growth

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (May 4, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a reinforced undertaking of its long and steady infrastructure and growth leadership efforts. The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will serve as the unified voice of business preparing for Florida’s future growth.

 

“With 26 million people expected to call Florida home by 2030, a growing Florida means a growing need for infrastructure to support our increasing population and increasing visitors,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition is focused on creating long-term investments in Florida’s energy, water, transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture infrastructure. With Washington, D.C.’s renewed focus on infrastructure, the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition aims to maximize Florida’s economic growth opportunities. And at the state level, double down on efforts to prepare for Florida’s growing population through infrastructure investments.

 

“Florida’s economy will reach $1 trillion by the end of 2018, and it’s important that we continue to focus on strategic, innovative and transformative infrastructure investments that will allow Florida to continue to compete and succeed on a global scale,” said SENATE PRESIDENT DESIGNATE BILL GALVANO, who has placed infrastructure among his top legislative priorities. “By working together with the business community and the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition, we can ensure a prosperous future for Florida.”

 

Ananth Prasad, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association, and former Department of Transportation Secretary will spearhead the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition. During Prasad’s time as Florida Department of Transportation Secretary, he continued to protect Florida’s Transportation Trust Fund, allowing fundamental infrastructure projects to flourish. He is also credited with creating historic investments in Florida’s transportation infrastructure.

 

“As we look toward the future of infrastructure in Florida, we must dream big,” said ANANTH PRASAD, President-Designate, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association. “Tourism is up, Florida’s population continues to grow, and now, we must match it with innovations in every mode of infrastructure to move people and goods more efficiently.”

 

The Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition will soon travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation and officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation during National Infrastructure Week. The Infrastructure Coalition will provide its list of recommended infrastructure investments to state and federal leaders.

 

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition by visiting www.FloridaChamber.com/Infrastructure

 

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The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

Building the Future of Energy

With a goal of building a smarter energy infrastructure that is more flexible, reliable and resilient than ever, Gulf Power has invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the last several years in infrastructure upgrades across Northwest Florida.

“The key to keeping reliability high and ensuring the grid is prepared for our customers’ future is investing in technology, maintenance and upgrades,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power chairman, president and CEO.

Some of the upgrades across the service footprint have included the installation of the latest technology such as smart, self-healing equipment, substation upgrades and replacing most wooden transmission structures with concrete poles and wooden cross arms with steel arms.

“These investments help improve our ability to withstand the rigors of our coastal environment, better secure the energy grid and prepare for future growth,” added Connally. “Making sure our customers can count on us for reliable energy is critical, and the investments we continue to make in our system are paying off.”

With recent and ongoing infrastructure upgrades to make the energy grid stronger, Gulf Power customers are also enjoying fewer outages than in any time in recent history. In fact, investments in the energy grid have improved reliability for the utility’s 460,000 customers by almost 20 percent since 2010.

“This work is just a part of many investments we’re making to ensure we continue to deliver the best value to our customers,” said Connally. “From investing in technologies and upgrades, to adding renewables to our portfolio, our team is working hard to make sure we can provide the safe, clean, reliable and affordable energy our customers need today, and in the future.”

Florida Chamber Urges Senate to Support HB 405, Linear Facilities

 

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To: Florida Senate

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson will be heard on Wednesday, February 21th, on the Senate Special Order Calendar.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 494

 

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To: Senate Community Affairs Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 494, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee will be heard on Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 494, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Florida House Committee to Support HB 405

 

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To: Members of the House Commerce Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson will be heard on Thursday, January 11th, in the House Commerce Committee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Energy News That Matters to You

 

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New Portal Highlights Florida Business Leaders’ Demand for Clean and Renewable Energy

A new online portal features examples of business leadership in the investment and use of clean and renewable energy across Florida. The stories and projects highlighted are part of a new initiative, Clean Energy Florida, which promotes awareness around the potential of clean and renewable to grow Florida’s economy and to protect the state’s renowned natural resources.

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As we prepare for the changes expected by 2030, Florida has an opportunity to become the leading U.S. state in the 21st century—a place marked by global competitiveness, prosperity, and vibrant and resilient communities. But to achieve that vision will require bold targets, thoughtful strategies, and a commitment to action.

Preparing Florida’s infrastructure for smart growth and development, will require diverse and reliable energy systems. The priorities outlined in the Florida 2030 Infrastructure & Growth Leadership Pillar state we must:

  • Diversify energy sources and expand energy capacity to meet future demand.
  • Continue to grow and enhance the efficiency and reliability of the energy grid.
  • Plan for adoption of electric vehicles, connected homes and businesses, and supporting infrastructure.
  • Support and enact regulatory reform to address grid modernization and access, storage and distributed generation, and energy efficiency.

For information on preparing Florida’s infrastructure for smart growth and development, download the Florida 2030 Key Targets & Strategies by visiting www.Florida2030.org


 

Resources

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Energy

Florida Chamber of Commerce Energy Issues

Florida Chamber Urges House Committee to Support HB 405

 

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To: House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson, will be heard on Wednesday, November 15th, in the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

 Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and  Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 494

 

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To: Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 494, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee will be heard on Tuesday, November 14th, in the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

– Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and

– Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 494, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

JEA Shakes Up Solar Policies

 

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Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has approved policies to encourage adding storage batteries to homeowners who use solar energy to power their homes. JEA currently produces 50 megawatts of solar power. That number will jump to 250 megawatts by 2019. The new policies will reduce the $0.10 per kilowatt hour of energy that homeowners are paying now to $0.03 per kilowatt hour.

A recent Jacksonville Business Journal article, JEA Shakes Up Solar Policies, discusses how JEA’s new policies are helping to securing Florida’s future.

 

JEA unanimously approved Tuesday policies to increase the authority’s reliance on solar energy, to cut an incentive for homeowners to install solar panels and to create an incentive for homeowners to add storage batteries to their solar arrays.

JEA will add up to 250 megawatts of solar power to its energy portfolio. It is budgeting up to $50 million to buy land for solar farms, which could be operational by late 2019. This addition of solar power, which dwarfs the 50 megawatts currently produced by JEA, would make Jacksonville the largest solar community in the United States per capita, based on projections of other cities’ portfolios.

JEA staff members lauded solar power in their presentation to the board of directors. They noted that solar power had reached price parity with fossil fuel generation and that JEA customers are increasingly adding solar panels to their homes. The cost to install solar systems has fallen 70 percent since 2010, leading to a 68 percent annual growth rate for the industry nationwide, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Yet, JEA is rolling back net metering benefits that homeowners rely upon to justify the high upfront cost of solar system installation. Under the current net metering policy, which began in 2009, homeowners with solar systems receive $0.10 per kilowatt hour of energy that they produce above their consumption. Starting Apr. 1, this will roll back to just over $0.03 per kilowatt hour. However, those currently receiving the $0.10 payout will be grandfathered in for the next 20 years.

Click here to read the complete article.

2017 Environmental Permitting Summer School

The 31st Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School is attended by more than 850 attorneys, consultants, engineers, state and local government officials, developers, landowners and others with a strong interest in environmental issues in Florida. Program features the most advanced and current instruction available on Florida’s environmental, energy and growth management laws, rules and programs. Attendees also have the opportunity to earn continuing education credits.

Creating Efficient and Sustainable Energy Solutions

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Florida’s ongoing economic recovery has fueled growth in all areas- from population growth to private-sector job creation. But an increased population means increased energy use from all areas of Florida- from the individual light switch to the multi-national companies headquartered in Florida. Florida’s population is expected to grow by six million more residents by 2030 and we must be prepared to provide clean, cost-effective, efficient and reliable energy solutions.

Providing families with reliable and cost-effective energy options by championing energy policies that focus on the long-term needs of our state will help meet the needs of Florida’s growing population.

This requires increasing Florida’s energy independence while expanding the use of alternative fuels like LNG and CNG.

Dependable energy is an important cornerstone to the health of all Floridians. Adopting smart growth policies will benefit small businesses and families by growing the private sector, despite the continued delays posed by those who seek to burden government processes with more regulation.

Florida’s focus on comprehensive clean energy initiatives are steps in the right direction to ensure our rising population has adequate resources. Join us as we fight for long-term energy strategies that will make Florida more competitive.

Florida Chamber Fights Federal Government Overreach Once More

In the latest bout of federal government overreach, traditionally-fired power plants have been ordered to follow an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) mandate in order to continue to operate. These federal mandates cause a loss of jobs, revenue and economic activity for communities who rely on coal-fired plants. In fact, coal currently accounts for more than 20 percent of Florida’s energy generation.

“We look forward to defending our states’ rights in court to prevent these heavy-handed and unlawful regulations,” a statement issued by the Florida Attorney General’s Office said.

At the Florida Chamber, we believe businesses should focus on growing more jobs, creating more opportunities and strengthening their communities instead of focusing on navigating unnecessary federal regulations.

Overreaching federal regulations continues to be a top concern of Florida Chamber members and partners. We will continue to monitor this issue and work to protect the right of Floridians against the encroachment of the federal government.

In the meantime, contact us today at cemmanuel@flchamber.com and tell us how this issue could affect your business and community.