2012 Florida Energy Summit – FLATE highlights Education and Outreach Efforts

The 2012 Florida Energy Summit combined with this year’s annual Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) Summit and took place in Orlando on August 15 – 17. The Summit provided opportunities for the 500 participants (homeowners, businesses, local governments and energy producers) to explore how Florida can secure a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy, as well as on realistic steps Floridians can take now to cut their energy costs and increase their comfort. 

At the summit, FLATE highlighted curriculum development and educational outreach efforts in partnership with FESC during the last year. In 2008, Florida’s legislature commissioned FLATE to partner with FESC to prepare and execute a technician workforce plan that will put an energy workforce into place on time. FLATE’s poster presentation, “Energy Education for Florida’s Future Technician Workforce”, described the past work of the FLATE – FESC partnership as well as outlining the new Industrial Energy Efficiency specialization for the Associate of Science (ET) degree and associated College Credit Certificate, designed to match training directly to industry needs. FLATE materials were also displayed on the FESC table in the Energy Summit Exhibit Hall.

Presentations by Florida's state-level policymakers focused on what’s next for Florida. During the 2012 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed its first, statewide energy policy in four years. This policy reinstates tax incentives for production of renewable energy and reduces burdens on businesses, as well as promoting energy efficiency. It also repeals the renewable portfolio standard mandate. During the summit, State policy advisors discussed how to implement this recently-passed Florida Energy Bill and what the bill means to Florida’s economy.

Many energy-related innovative research efforts at universities and colleges throughout the state were spotlighted during the summit. The Florida Energy Systems Consortium revealed the latest emerging technologies, impacting future energy production and local communities reported on what they are doing to lay the foundation for alternative transportation fuels and technologies. Florida’s investment in FESC 4 years ago has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars of investment and grants into the state’s alternative energy technology sector, helping to bring many new technology innovations into the marketplace.

As the nation’s third largest consumer of energy, it is imperative that Florida’s energy policy creates an environment that fosters the development of affordable, clean energy supplies to meet our state’s long term needs. This summit provided a valuable forum for discussions and dissemination of information about Florida’s energy future as work continues to expand energy sources and production, increase energy efficiency and move forward with energy policy.