Florida Utilities Actively Involved in Recruiting and Retaining Businesses

26 Nov, 2018

By: Governor Rick Scott

In addition to Florida’s diverse and highly skilled workforce, expansive multi-modal infrastructure and ease of access to global markets, the state has a strong network of economic development partners working to increase job creation in the state. Among those partners are the state’s utilities that are actively involved in recruiting and retaining businesses.

Duke Energy
The Duke Energy Florida economic development team partners with the communities it serves to attract and retain jobs and capital investment. The company invests in a multifaceted Site Readiness program that accelerates a community’s ability to attract new jobs and investment.

The Site Readiness program is designed to identify, analyze and promote industrial sites that will attract new business. A site in the program usually goes through a progression beginning with a Strategic Sites Inventory or SSI geospatial analysis. In SSI Phase I, Duke Energy works with Leotta Location + Design to geospatially identify raw land that is well-suited for light and heavy industrial development. With support from the Duke Energy Foundation in partnership with Enterprise Florida, Florida communities and other partners, more than 1,000 potential sites have been identified since the SSI program began in 2014. SSI Phase II includes a preliminary site evaluation of the most promising sites. In 2017, the foundation’s support enabled properties in five counties to undertake SSI Phase I and II initiatives.

In addition to its SSI efforts, Duke Energy partners with site selection consultants, such as Quest Site Solutions and Global Location Strategies, to conduct more in-depth site evaluations. Evaluations include in-person site visits and a community presentation. Communities then leverage various funding sources, including the Florida Jobs Growth Grant Fund, to proactively improve sites. Nineteen sites have been evaluated since the program began in 2013, with four more currently under evaluation. Duke Energy also creates aerial videos and custom flyers for communities and the Duke Energy Business Recruitment team to use in their promotional activities.

This comprehensive Site Readiness program has proven to be very successful. In partnership with local communities and the state, the Duke Energy economic development team has been instrumental in attracting or helping to grow 277 companies in Florida, which has resulted in more than 41,000 new jobs and over $3.6 billion in capital investment since 2001.

Florida Power & Light Company
In the opinion of Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), the state’s largest electric utility, Florida, the third most populous state in the U.S. has one heck of a business recruitment story to tell. Abundant sunshine, no state income tax, pro-business policies and sandy white beaches are excellent population recruitment tools that have all combined to propel Florida past New York in number of residents within the last two years.

The state’s leadership recognizes that its communities will be stronger and attract more people if viable business growth opportunities are pursued as part of its economic resurgence strategy. More than 2.1 million businesses can’t be wrong. A wide array of incentives, a competitive workforce and outstanding infrastructure have helped launch its growth rate to unprecedented levels. Just this year, Florida’s gross domestic product topped the $1 trillion mark.

Outstanding infrastructure for FPL has meant investing billions of dollars to upgrade its grid making it stronger, smarter and more reliable. It also means adding cost-effective solar power throughout the state, leading one of the largest solar expansions ever in the southeastern U.S. All this has been achieved at the same time the utility keeps its typical customer bills among the lowest in the nation.

For industries such as advanced manufacturing, the elimination of Florida’s state sales tax on items like manufacturing equipment purchases has led to the expansion of companies and hiring of more employees. FPL has been proactive in pushing for similar legislation for data centers.

FPL understands that energy costs should never be a barrier to growing or locating a business in Florida. Its office of economic development continues to provide the level of service and support site selectors with tools and resources necessary to help them make their decisions to choose Florida.

Gulf Power
Gulf Power has long invested in economic development in Northwest Florida, most recently through the very successful Florida First Sites program that helps develop project-ready sites.

A Gulf Power Florida First Site was the key reason Panama City economic developers were successful in attracting GKN Aerospace to the Northwest Florida community.

The aviation supply manufacturer made a capital investment of $50 million and is hiring high-skill workers in its new location at The St. Joe Company’s VentureCrossing, one of nine certified sites in Gulf Power’s service area.

Launched by Gulf Power in 2013, Florida First Sites offers project-ready industrial sites across Northwest Florida to help communities prepare locations to attract high-quality jobs and create a positive ripple effect throughout the local economy.

To be designated as a Florida First Site, each site must complete a rigorous certification process. The process ensures that pre-work has been completed, taking the majority of the risk out of the site selection process and providing companies with speed to market.

Florida First Sites is designed to help bring new businesses to the region and retain and grow local businesses. The first business to occupy a Florida First Site location was Fabbro Marine, manufacturer of Cape Horn offshore boats. After 20 years of successful operations in the Santa Rosa Industrial Park, Fabbro Marine had outgrown its facility. It either had to move operations — and jobs — outside the area or find a larger property in Santa Rosa County. Company owners discovered the Florida First Site in its own backyard, at the Santa Rosa Industrial Park East and quickly broke ground for a new 78,000-square-foot facility in 2016. The $4 million investment created 10 jobs.

TECO Energy
The Tampa Electric economic development team encourages new development, business growth and a thriving community by maintaining affordable energy prices.

Tampa Electric offers rate structures to encourage businesses to expand or relocate and offers two unique programs for economic development projects.
• Economic Development Rider (EDR): EDR is available to new or expanding businesses that add a minimum of 350 kilowatts demand of new electric load and create at least 25 new jobs. The EDR is for firm power only; load management or interruptible rates are not eligible.
• Commercial Industrial Service Rider (CISR): The company designed this rate to attract new, large power users to the state as part of a competitive location project.

Tampa Electric plays an energetic role in site selection. Businesses planning to open a new facility or expand an existing facility need reliable power at a reasonable price. As a company starts narrowing its focus to specific sites, Tampa Electric can screen locations to determine which ones offer adequate power today and which are viable candidates for adding extra service capacity in the future. T&ID

• Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund – tax refund for businesses creating quality job growth in high value-added industries; per job bonuses available in rural communities and brownfields; qualified companies create at least 10 new jobs, pay an average of at least 115 percent of the area wage and operate within one of the state’s target industries
• Capital Investment Tax Credit – tax credit used to attract and grow capital-intensive industries in Florida; an annual credit against the corporate income tax for eligible companies operating in one of the state’s designated high-impact sectors; qualified companies create at least 100 jobs and invest at least $25 million in eligible capital costs
• Quick Response Training Grant – a state-funded grant program that provides funding to qualifying businesses to train their net new, full-time employees
• Incumbent Worker Training Program – a state-funded grant program that allows employers to provide training to currently employed workers to keep Florida’s workforce competitive in a global economy
• Specialized/Location-Based Incentives – tax credits for companies operating in designated rural and urban areas, as well as incentives for brownfields
• Expedited Permitting Assistance – streamlined state and local permitting.