Across the U.S., as temperatures rise and extreme weather events become more norm than exception, states continue to grapple with the complex challenges of strained energy capacities. Power outages, volatile energy prices and demands that outpace supply have become common, costing American businesses $150 billion per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Many states have had to take drastic measures. This past summer, both Texas and California, hit with rolling blackouts and outages caused by severe weather that stressed infrastructure, had to ask customers to voluntarily decrease power consumption in order to manage power-supply shortfalls during heat waves. That’s a tough ask for businesses that rely on access to energy for their own continuity and reliability with their customers.
That’s why some companies are looking at Florida as a potential haven in the chaotic landscape. The Sunshine State benefits from nearly 40 years of trial, error and hard-won experience in renewable energy sources. Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), America’s largest electric utility, commissioned its first solar installation in Miami in 1984, at a time when solar was still in its nascent stages. That prescient move would allow the company to gain invaluable experience with an emerging technology and, as a result, other players in the sector are only today reaching carbon-emissions-reduction levels FPL achieved 15 years ago.
Today, FPL is the state’s largest solar producer with more than 60 solar energy centers in operation, which saved business customers an estimated $375 million in fuel last year alone. Universal solar has brought FPL’s current solar capacity to ~4,700 MW—and much more is on the way. Additionally, FPL has reduced oil as a percentage of energy mix from 18 percent to zero, while increasing natural gas from 42 percent to 67 percent.
The dramatic reliability boost is also due to significant investments designed to make the state’s grid stronger and more resilient to severe weather, including hardening or placing underground more than 70 percent of all main power lines. FPL also installed about 6 million smart meters and more than 200,000 intelligent devices along the energy grid, using advanced technology that helps detect problems and restore service faster if outages occur. Those savvy moves earned FPL the ReliabilityOne® National Reliability Award for seven of the last eight years. With fewer outages, Florida-based businesses can operate without the looming threat of unexpected downtime and scale operations without facing energy-related hindrances.
Not ‘Net Zero’—Real Zero
Energy access in Florida is about to get even more clean and reliable—and affordable. Last year, NextEra Energy, FPL’s parent company and one of the world’s biggest renewable energy developers, announced an unprecedented target: to completely eliminate carbon emissions from its operations by 2045. Achieving Real Zero will offer a host of tangible benefits for businesses located in the state:
• Stable Energy Prices: By investing heavily in renewable sources, FPL can provide more predictable energy prices. Once set up, renewables often offer operational cost savings and less price volatility. This stability allows businesses to forecast expenses more accurately.
• Enhanced Reliability: Renewable energy sources, especially when combined with modern energy storage solutions, can enhance grid reliability. This means fewer unexpected business disruptions. Diversifying the energy mix reduces dependency on any single energy source, adding an additional layer of reliability to the power supply.
• Renewable Credentials: As FPL moves toward Real Zero, businesses sourcing their power from the utility can claim a more sustainable energy mix.
• Reduced Regulatory Risks: Governments and regulatory bodies are moving toward stricter environmental guidelines. Connecting to a grid focused on Real Zero can help businesses mitigate the risk of regulatory changes focused on carbon emissions and environmental impact.
• Boosted Local Economy: FPL’s investment in renewables will create up to 150,000 jobs and add $15 billion to the state’s annual GDP. Businesses, especially those in the supply chain, will benefit from this economic uplift.
• Long-term Sustainability: Ensuring a sustainable power supply for the future is critical for long-term business planning. FPL’s commitment ensures that Florida businesses have a forward-thinking power provider that’s preparing for the future energy landscape.
For companies that have their sights set on longevity and impact, putting down roots in a state that prioritizes energy independence, innovation and reliability represents a commitment to a more resilient and sustainable future—one that will offer strong ROI for years to come.