|FSEC Director, James Fenton
Photo: Nick Waters
In preparing material recently for some proposals we are writing,
I gathered some interesting information on the economic impact of
renewable energy and energy efficiency on the people of Florida.
I knew that these fields had a pretty strong impact on the state’s
economy, but until I saw some of the numbers we collected, I really
did not appreciate the tremendous impact that we are making today
and the even more dramatic effects we can have in the future.
FSEC is proud to be a part of these fields, working with industry,
policy makers and others to help educate the people of Florida about
the available products and strategies, research new technologies for
use today and in the future, and help stimulate the development of
industries, businesses and jobs to stimulate our economy.
There is no doubt that the future of Florida’s economy, environment
and security is closely intertwined with our energy use decisions. Our
rapidly growing population requires an equally rapid expansion of
an energy industry to meet the needs of our residents as well as to
fuel the tourism and agriculture needs that dominate our state’s
economy. For the future of our state’s economy, our citizen’s
needs, our environment and our security, it is essential that we develop
renewable energy sources right here at home.
Expanded use of renewable energy and energy efficiency in our homes
and businesses will lead to energy independence for Florida, creating
industries and jobs, a strengthened economy, the development of commercially
promising technologies and make our homes and businesses more energy-efficient
There may not be an issue facing Floridians that has more societal
impact or more economic ramifications while causing such a high level
of immediate concern than energy. Energy is clearly one of the
key issues – if not THE key issue -- facing our state and our
nation – how to produce it, how to best use it, how to make
it available, how to make affordable and how to develop the new technologies
needed to meet these key issues.
Over the years, FSEC has worked with a number of capital start-up
companies, and looking at the many successes in this area really impressed
me with all that we have done. Our work with start-up companies
- OPTM (Off Peak Thermal Management), by OPTM – manufacturers
of unique concrete wall block for construction that consist of massive
walls with insulation on the outside.
- NOMAD, by NOMAD, Inc. – manufacturers of a thermal Rankine
cycle water pump with solar panels as the heat source.
- WPS by Advanced Water Engineering Company – manufacturers
of a water purification system for pre-treating water before a hot
water tank to enhance heat transfer and save energy.
- Ideal-TWH by Ideal Tankless Water Heater Corp. – designers
of a tankless water heater with enhanced heat exchange for energy
- Motordyne and Energy Buster by Condyne Technology, Inc.-- designers
and manufacturers of an electric power-conditioning device for soft
start and energy savings of induction motors.
- Cond-ex by Refrigeration Technology, Inc. -- designers and manufacturers
of a refrigeration condensing sub-cooler as an add-on to air conditioning
systems to improve performance and save energy.
- Actec by Advanced Cooling Technology, Inc. -- designers and manufacturers
of a water sprayed sub-cooler as an add-on to air conditioning systems
to improve performance and save energy.
- Power Mizer by Miracle Products, Inc. – designers of a power-conditioning
device for incandescent bulbs to save energy.
- LPA by HY-Save -- designers and manufacturers of a liquid refrigerant
pump to improve expansion valve operation and save energy on air
- Adsil, by Adsil, Inc. -- developers and producers of a silica
based spray-on coating to inhibit corrosion.
|Vehicles on state roads consume 8.1 billion gallons
of gasoline and 1.4 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year.
One area that is especially affected economically by our technologies
is transportation. Energy use by motor vehicles in Florida is
staggering. The more than 8.4 million automobiles, 6.6 million
trucks, and 47,000 buses on the state roads consume 8.1 billion gallons
of gasoline and 1.4 billion gallons of diesel fuel each year. At $3
per gallon, this means that Florida exports $28 billion per year just
for motor fuels since all of these industries are external to Florida.
These numbers will grow in the future to an export value estimated
at $40 billion per year by 2016.
The future will eventually operate on a non-fossil based fuel --
and that fuel may very well be renewable-derived hydrogen, which then
has the potential to be produced locally. Thus, in the future,
development of hydrogen, fuel cells and other advanced technologies
can offer a potential new industry of $40 billion just in the transportation
Electric power generation presents another important consideration. Electric
utilities have advised Florida’s PSC and 2020 Study Commission
that 10,000 to 20,000 MW of new electric generating capacity will
be required to serve the state’s growing needs by 2020. At
the moment, the fuel of choice is natural gas. Many utility managers
do not believe natural gas resources are adequate to supply required
quantities of fuel, and to supply it at a competitive price. In
the last three years, natural gas prices have risen from $3/MBtu to
more than $10/MBtu, and now are at approximately $7/MBtu. For
this reason, plans are also being developed for power producers to
import and burn coal and other heavy-fuels to generate electricity
at many of the proposed new units. Whether natural gas or coal,
all the generating plants will produce local air pollution (nitrogen
oxides, carbon monoxide and particulates) and huge quantities of greenhouse
gases (carbon dioxide and methane). In addition, they will
all be located in populated areas adding to air quality concerns and
placing significantly limited options for the design and placement
of these units. The work that we and the others involved in
developing renewable energy and energy efficiency are doing will have
a tremendous impact in the coming years.
These fields also offer significant potential for job creation and
workforce development. The future energy industries are going
to be high technology since major research and development challenges
remain to be resolved. Using high technology data from the 2004-2009
Strategic Plan for Economic Development, 2006 Annual Report, statistics
were obtained for Florida’s high-tech industry. To obtain
economic data for the Orlando-East Space Coast area, the data was
modified by the region’s population to Florida’s population
using a ratio of 0.17. This gives the following economic data
for the Orlando-Space Coast area:
5-YEAR GROWTH NUMBER
High Technology Jobs
High Tech Average Wage
High Technology Payroll
New High Technology
Since the above is for all high-tech industries, the assumption was
made that PV, hydrogen and fuel cells could impact 25 percent. This
gives a new industry in five years of 1,500 jobs at $73,300 per job
for a total annual payroll of $110 million. The total industry
potential would be five times the payroll or $550 million.
Continued economic growth, jobs and prosperity are goals of all
local, state and federal leaders. Economic studies have shown
Florida to be losing ground over time with regard to its average annual
wage as compared to the U.S. average. This disturbing factor
is due to our high reliance on the service industry for jobs and growth. Tourism
jobs have an average wage of $25,000 per year as compared with high
technology at $58,900 per year. Although service is a major
contributor to Florida industry and must not be neglected, the over-reliance
on services needs to be tempered with a planned effort for high technology
and high value development. PV, hydrogen and fuel cell industries
provide a natural high technology niche for Florida’s future.
The key to Florida’s continuing economic enhancement is the
success of high-technology development. The key to high-technology
development is the requirement for a concentration of companies and
a strong research, education and technology resource base. At
FSEC, I’m proud that we’re working on technologies that
can play a significant role in helping boost our state’s economy.
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