Newsroom

Florida’s Decarbonized Future

Net Zero Power System and Net Zero Economy Can Drive Economic Growth

Media Contacts

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Florida, with the expertise of AECOM and Cambridge Econometrics, has published a first-of-its-kind economic study on the impacts of decarbonizing Florida’s economy: Economic Benefits of Decarbonization in Florida. The report looks at two decarbonization scenarios—achieving a power grid with net zero emissions by 2035 (Net Zero Power System) and achieving net zero emissions economy-wide by 2050 (Net Zero Economy). The decarbonization of our economy—reducing greenhouse gas emissions (including carbon dioxide) in manufacturing, transport, energy and other parts of our economy—can drive vast job growth and prosperity for Florida. Decarbonization will expand and create higher-paying jobs, offering opportunities for workers of all skills and education levels, as well as lower consumer costs.

Economic Benefits of Decarbonization in Florida estimates the investment required and the benefits of two decarbonization scenarios: a Net Zero Power System by 2035 and a Net Zero Economy by 2050. The study finds that investment in a Net Zero Economy results in a state economy that is nearly 2% larger than the baseline in 2050. Reduced spending on electricity and private transportation will allow consumers to redirect spending in other sectors, supporting economic growth.

Quote: Greg Knecht

“The report findings are clear, Florida is already making progress in clean energy, and Floridians are eager for the economic opportunities that decarbonization offers.

Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida

“The report findings are clear,” said Greg Knecht, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Florida. “Florida is already making progress in clean energy, and Floridians are eager for the economic opportunities that decarbonization offers. Decarbonizing Florida’s economy will ultimately position the Sunshine State to continue to grow as a hub for innovation and technological advancement, increasing Floridians’ quality of life and economic prospects.”

Job Creation and Workforce Development: Decarbonization offers higher-paying jobs at all skill and education levels. The report projects job impacts for 71 individual sectors and nine aggregated sectors including electricity, construction, industry, services, transport, agriculture, extraction, other utilities and government. With a decarbonized economy, there will be an increased demand for specific skills and knowledge relative to the current economy—such as installation, mechanical skills, programming, design, and operation control and monitoring.

As reported in the United States Energy and Employment Report for 2023, the demand for jobs in the clean energy sector has seen a nearly 4% increase nationwide, while jobs that are related to zero-emission vehicles experienced a remarkable 20+% employment growth from 2021 to 2022. The electricity sector, which sees significant long-term job growth in the Net Zero Economy scenario, has one of the highest shares of jobs that pay above a living wage—with 71% paying above a living wage. The transport sector experiences significant long-term job growth in the Net Zero Economy with a projected nearly 25,000 more jobs in 2050, relative to the modeled baseline in that year.

Large-scale deployment and installation of new clean energy, particularly solar capacity, is also projected to increase employment in the construction sector. The report projects that with the continued transition to a Net Zero Power System, construction can experience consistent job growth in the short and long term in every Florida county. Nearly a third of construction jobs pay a living wage and three-quarters of construction jobs have low education barriers to entry.

Consumer Energy Savings, Increased In-State Spending: The report finds that the lower consumer costs and better opportunities afforded by decarbonization will catalyze increased consumer spending, including in-state economic activity.

With the Net Zero Power System and Net Zero Economy scenarios, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) will continually decline for solar, and overall, reduce consumer electric prices. Reduced electricity prices and lower costs of private transportation allow consumers and businesses to increase spending in other sectors.

Combined with increased consumer spending from greater employment, consumer spending across the economy creates positive feedback loops, driving broader economic growth. Local consumers will spend most of the money on more goods and services, a substantial proportion of which will be sourced from within Florida, leading to positive multiplier effects as this creates new economic activity and jobs across the consumer service sectors, and upstream through supply chains.

Quote: Lynetta Usher Griner

Florida can have it all: clean energy, a thriving economy and strong workforce.

Secretary and Treasurer of Usher Land & Timber Inc.

“Florida can have it all: clean energy, a thriving economy and strong workforce,” said Lynetta Usher Griner, Secretary and Treasurer of Usher Land & Timber Inc. and member of the report’s Technical Advisory Committee. “From silviculture to agriculture, transport to manufacturing – there are countless opportunities for Florida businesses to adopt and take advantage of opportunities to decarbonize their operations and invest in their greatest asset: their employees. Florida’s future is bright, and our state continues to be a profitable place to do business, especially as we advance clean energy markets and infrastructure.”

Florida's Prime Position for Decarbonization: Economic Benefits of Decarbonization in Florida confirms that Florida is uniquely suited to benefit from Net Zero Power Systems and a Net Zero Economy, showing that we are already strong in sectors that are anticipated to grow with decarbonization. With nearly 160,000 clean energy jobs as of 2021, Florida is at the forefront of clean energy employment in the United States. Year-round sunshine has allowed the state to add more solar capacity in the first half of 2023 than any other state. In 2022, Florida had the second-highest number of registered EVs in the country and 5% of our electric generation came from solar power. Continued investments in decarbonization will keep Florida on a path of innovation and prosperity.

TNC in Florida is committed to sharing the report and its findings with government bodies, businesses and partners to foster a collaborative effort towards a prosperous future. Economic Benefits of Decarbonization in Florida was formulated by The Nature Conservancy in partnership with AECOM and a Technical Advisory Committee over the course of two years, funded by the generous contribution of Jane’s Trust Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, VoLo Foundation and Wells Fargo Foundation.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.