Building Resilient Communities: The Role of the Inflation Reduction Act in Florida’s Clean Energy Future
The Inflation Reduction Act presents a real opportunity for Floridians to accelerate their transition to clean and renewable energy. The Act authorized $369 billion in funding to address climate change, and many of its provisions are for small businesses and manufacturers. Florida’s industrial, manufacturing, and service sectors stand to benefit from the new law, and it could provide 85,000 jobs in Florida by 2030, according to RMI, an energy organization focused on innovation and sustainability. The legislation offers investment and production tax credits for utilities that want to invest in renewable energy, too, bringing new economic opportunities to communities. However, the Inflation Reduction Act should not be a partisan issue; it is a challenge that requires everyone’s efforts to combat future climate change and adapt to the effects of climate change that people are experiencing now.
Florida is ideally positioned to use its competitive advantage and increase solar power percentages in its energy generation portfolio. As the “Sunshine State,” Florida can encourage individual homeowners who elect to convert to rooftop solar and find ways to make it more affordable for citizens. Last year, the Florida Legislature proposed a bill that would have allowed utilities to recoup lost revenues from individual homeowners who had installed solar, but Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the bill. Policies that incentivize the movement toward increasing renewable energy sources, such as rooftop solar, are essential for Florida.
The Inflation Reduction Act can help JEA update its Electrical Integrated Resource Plan and increase the percentage of renewable energy sources in their energy portfolio. A local coalition, The Renew Jacksonville Campaign (RenewJax), is calling for JEA to commit to 30% renewable energy sources by 2030 and for the City of Jacksonville to use renewable energy for all municipal operations by 2035. These appear to be achievable goals with the best interest of the local community in mind.
The potential benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act can extend over a long period of time, with a lot of funding not yet distributed. States and municipalities’ application for these funds will play a significant role in how they benefit from the law. The cost of renewables can now compete with any other energy source, and solar has become the cheapest source of electricity in the world, according to the International Energy Agency. As Americans unleash the entrepreneurial spirit and market-based forces on renewable energy, they can become the cost leader in solar and wind technology. This brings manufacturing back home, protects vulnerable supply chains, and outmaneuvers global competitors.