Lake Worth Sen. Jeff Clemens and Lantana Rep. Lori Berman filed bills that would allow Florida cities to create incentive programs to attract sustainable energy jobs.
HB 887 and SB 1090 would expand a pilot program to create “Energy Economic Zones” in cities, a designation for areas that encourage renewable energy generation, manufacture products that contribute to energy conservation, and grow jobs in the renewable energy sector.
The bills also remove a provision from the pilot program that required the Department of Economic Opportunity to consult with the Florida Department of Transportation before approving projects.
“Advances in solar, wind, and hydroelectricity have made the attracting and locating of companies investing in the future of renewable energy a highly competitive market amongst states throughout the country,” Berman said. “Having as many tools in the tool chest as possible that are available to Florida’s communities is what we are trying to achieve.”
Under the bill, businesses would have to meet qualified target industry standards in order to get incentives money through the program, and each city would be limited to $300,000 in incentives a year. Any unused portion of that money, however, could be carried forward for 5 years.
The bill would also require cities to collaborate with a university or other research institution to be eligible to receive state incentive money.
“This is the perfect way to support innovation at our universities and provide entrepreneurs with an avenue to help secure our energy future,” Clemens said.
The pair also noted a benefit their districts would likely receive under the bill. The City of Lake Worth could partner FAU’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center, which is a leader in ocean current energy due to its proximity to the Gulf Stream a few miles off the coast.