April 2005

Hydrogen Energy Technologies Act could bring 142 jobs to Florida

The following news release is from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection:

TALLAHASSEE (March 22)- The Washington Economics Group, Inc. today released an in-depth economic analysis of the proposed Florida Hydrogen Energy Technologies Act (FHETA), projecting that the legislation would bring in $47.3 million in hydrogen energy investments and 142 jobs to Florida in just its first year.  Sponsored by Senator Lee Constantine and Representative Adam Hasner, the legislative proposal would grow the revolutionary energy technology, increase corporate investment and diversify Florida's economy.  

According to the report by the Washington Economics Group, "The immediate economic impacts of FHETA are significant, and as the Florida industry matures the creation of jobs, payroll and business revenues will grow significantly. FHETA is an investment in the future of Florida's economy."

Highlights of FHETA's anticipated economic impacts for fiscal year 2005-2006 include:

  • FHETA related investments in hydrogen technology are projected to support 142 jobs with an average annual labor compensation of $46,128, nearly $8,000 higher than Florida's median household income.
  • FHETA's total economic impact is estimated at $17.4 million in just the first year of implementation.
  • The total impact on labor income is projected at $6.5 million, with a contribution to Florida's Gross State Product of $10.3 million.
  • The projected impact on additional spending within Florida would result in $980,000 in state and local government revenues.

"Hydrogen energy technology is viewed as having the potential to make an important contribution to the future of the State's economy in addition to the environmental benefits arising from clean energy, and greater energy reliability and security.  The development of this sector would not only represent new high value added/high wage jobs, but help to diversify the economic base of Florida," the report said. 

Worldwide, energy companies, automakers and petroleum companies are investing more than $2 billion annually to expand the hydrogen technology industry.  With its attractive business climate and amenable year-around weather, the Sunshine State expects to become a nucleus for the hydrogen industry, effectively competing in global markets and expanding the state's exports.

Setting aside $12.9 million to test and demonstrate cutting-edge technology and providing $2.1 million in new tax incentives in its first year, the proposal for FHETA:

  • Provides Florida companies with temporary corporate tax credits for expenditures and sales tax exemptions on related equipment purchases, increasing capital investment and job creation by reducing the costs of purchasing, manufacturing and developing hydrogen energy technologies.
  • Provides targeted matching grants to spur corporate investment for select, high value demonstration projects, expanding private-public partnerships and accelerating the commercialization of hydrogen energy technologies.
  • Modernizes and streamlines regulations by establishing the nation's first statewide siting standard for hydrogen fueling infrastructure.

"This legislation is an investment in more than clean air -- it is an investment in Florida's economic and energy future," said Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Allan Bedwell.  "Florida could receive a 300 percent return on its initial investment, with even greater economic returns over the legislation's four-year term."

Already a national leader in the development of hydrogen energy, Florida currently has 28 mobile and stationary hydrogen demonstration projects either underway, in development or in the planning stage.  The State is also purchasing eight of the world's first commercially available hydrogen shuttle busses for visitor transit in the Orlando area and, last month, Governor Jeb Bush broke ground on Florida's first hydrogen energy station.

For more information on Florida's energy initiatives, visit www.FloridaEnergy.org.

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