Florida's Clean Energy Role
Florida, also known as the “Sunshine State”, is rapidly becoming a state that welcomes clean and renewable energy sources. There are many different types of companies driving this change — from utilities to retailers and developers looking to power their facilities with solar and other renewable resources as they build.
In 2019, Florida led the nation in growth of solar jobs. After California, Florida ranks second in the country for most solar jobs.
Source: Ntl. Solar Jobs Census 2019 from The Solar Foundation
Upon getting elected, Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order calling for new environmental policies, the appointment of a chief science officer, banning fracking and offshore oil drilling, and creating a resiliency office to prepare coastal cities for sea level rise. Regarding energy policy, the Governor said, “I am supportive of programs that will provide Floridians with greater access to affordable, clean energy which will help propel the State to a healthier future.”
During the 2020 Florida legislative session, there was a significant shift in the way that the Florida Legislature and its Republican lead majorities addressed the issues of climate, sea-level rise, and clean energy. There was much greater willingness to move these issues to the front for debate and considerably more interest by the Republican leadership and Governor’s office. In total there were 28 positive bills introduced related to clean energy, electric vehicles, climate, resiliency and sea-level rise during the 2020 session. This compares to the 2019 session where there were just 10 similar bills introduced. It’s clear that the Florida Legislature is starting to take these issues more seriously and is looking for direction from conservative thought leaders to help guide them. The time is certainly right to provide market driven, renewable energy ideas to policymakers in Florida.
An example of this was SB 7018 Critical State Infrastructure which passed the Senate 38 – 0 and the House 97 – 19. This bill will require the Department of Transportation to develop and recommend a master plan by the end of 2020 for the development of electric vehicle charging station infrastructure along with the State Highway System. Additionally, SB 7018 will set the stage for an even stronger electric vehicle market in Florida. This bill will help increase accessibility for electric vehicle use. People want to feel comfortable that the charging infrastructure is in place when they drive through a state as large as Florida.
In recent years, Florida’s policy makers have been supportive of efforts that take a “business-oriented” approach to encouraging clean energy proliferation in Florida. They have placed items on the ballot to reduce property taxes for consumers and businesses that provide upgrades to their property to include renewable energy. With these recent successes, there are a growing number of legislators who want to see Florida diversify its energy mix.
Clean energy is an attractive issue to all voters because of its impact on our economy. The numbers on clean energy employment in Florida:
- Florida ranks in the top five states for energy efficiency employment (130,869)
- Total of 14,992 clean energy establishments in Florida
- 15% of new clean energy hires in Florida are veterans
- 46% of new hires over the past year are minorities (70% Hispanic)
Source: Clean Jobs Florida
The data shows that the clean energy sector is a significant employer in the state, but the market has not reached its full potential. However, the Sunshine State is on the rise. For more information about our progress in Florida review the latest highlights below.
Randy Enwright | Advisor
Randy Enwright is co-founder of the Enwright Rimes Consulting, Inc. Randy founded the Enwright Consulting Group in the fall of 1999 after more than two decades in campaign and political party management. In 2017, as Enwright Consulting was starting its 18th year, Randy and his long-time business partner, Jim Rimes, decided to rename the company Enwright Rimes Consulting, Inc. The firm continues to successfully specialize in governmental affairs, grassroots management, strategic planning, telemarketing, campaigns, and digital communications consulting.
Jim Rimes | Advisor
Jim Rimes is co-founder of Enwirght Rimes Consulting, Inc. After working with Randy at Enwright Consulting Group for the better part of 18 years, Randy and Jim decided to rename the company while still continuing its focus on delivering successful outcomes for its clients. Jim has experience both inside and outside the process. Jim has served as a deputy chief of staff for a Republican Governor, Staff Director in the Florida Senate Majority Office and Executive Director of the Republican Party of Florida. His 23 years of experience in Florida politics bring a unique blend of skills in government, politics, and technology.
George Riley | State Director
George Riley has more than a decade of experience with politics and grassroots activists in Florida. He began his career in 2008 serving as a victory director in Tampa. From there, he went on to serve as a regional field director, member relations director, director of party development and political director all with the Republican Party of Florida.
He most recently served as Executive Director for the Republican Party of Florida for three and a half years. In this role, he helped oversee the successful election cycles of 2016 and 2018 in Florida. In 2018, he oversaw $85 million of expenditures that went through the state party for five statewide campaigns.
Additionally, he worked with the RNC Victory Program to onboard nearly 100 employees for the 2016 and 2018 programs. During these cycles, George implemented the Chairman’s Project Majority Red initiative that was a voter registration effort that flipped ten majority Democrat registration counties to Republican majority.
George earned his Bachelor of Arts in History from Gettysburg College in 2005. He resides in Tallahassee with his daughters Amelia and Elizabeth.