Published On: Fri, Sep 29th, 2017

Florida: Job creation, entrepreneurs and energy production

Florida: Job creation, entrepreneurs and energy production

By Carlo Barbieri

In my last column, I discussed the evil of monopoly as it relates to Florida Power & Light.  My contention was that a monopoly of any sort destroys mankind’s creative spirit and hides solutions that would be easy to carry out, if we were simply made aware of them.

Last time, I discussed how FPL has prospered because it is the only supplier of electricity to many parts of the state. I also recalled how a referendum question on the 2016 ballot that would have placed into the state constitution a provision promoting individual use and even individual sale of solar power by residents. The measure lost, even though it won a majority of the vote by a small margin.

Today, let’s take another look at the energy scenario:

  • We all want clean and renewable energy sources to be developed;
  • In about 15 years, automobiles will all be powered by electricity, which, in the case of Florida, will increase the demand for energy;

Today, Florida basically produces only two types of fuel – fossil fuel, commonly known as oil, and atomic energy, the product of a handful of nuclear reactors scattered around the state.

Let’s be clear on this next point. Florida has about 7.5 million households, of which about five million are occupied by their owners.

If these homeowners could just purchase their own power generation equipment and market their excess even at a lower price than what is currently charged to FPL or another producer, we would be creating:

  • The likelihood that these owners would become entrepreneurs, investing in equipment and generating additional income for their family. As the generation of energy would become your responsibility, surely you would buy equipment capable of meeting your needs and also produce a surplus that could fetch some cash on the open energy market.
  • You could create a small business for the sale of surplus power. The profit from the firm could be used by the homeowner/business owner to pay for his own energy requirements along with other bills of his or her choosing.
  • With the creation of the company, you could get cheap and even subsidized financing from the Small Business Administration (SBA) or from another source of funding.

As a result, FPL or another distributor would, at some time in the future, have an overproduction of power, which could be marketed not only in Florida, but also exported to other states. More importantly, there would be a safe reduction of the investments necessary for the generation of energy. The cost of purchasing power would also be lower than the price of generating power on your own.

Let’s look at some figures generated by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy concerning activity in the state of Florida and how it is ripe for continued small business growth:

  • In the second quarter of 2016, Florida grew at an annual rate of 2.3%, nearly twice the overall US growth rate of 1.2%.
  • Small businesses in Florida employed 3.2 million people, or 42.8%, in 2014.
  • Firms with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment.
  • During the year ending November 2016, private sector employment increased 2.0%. This was just a hair above the 1.9% of the previous year.
  • In the second quarter of 2015, 19,910 establishments started up, generating 74,009 new jobs in Florida. In the same period, 16,514 establishments closed, resulting in 16,514 jobs lost.
  • A total of 61,307 companies exported goods from Florida in 2014. Among those, 58,404 or 95.3 percent were small firms. They generated 62.9% of Florida’s $53.4 billion in known exports.

What companies do

Companies are already used to cutting costs and generating revenue. They will have a greater facility to visualize and implement this program of personal generation of energy and commercialization of its surplus.

In general it already has its lines of credit and can streamline this economy.

The public sector

With the ever-present need to cut spending and increase efficiency, the public sector will be the most interested in this possibility of transforming a cost into a revenue-generating investment. Imagine a city like Boca Raton, how much do you spend on lighting for your administrative areas, parks, libraries, streets and public places?

Industrial parks

We will be bringing to Florida dozens of state-of-the-art alternative energy generation companies

Job creation

As the installation of this power generating equipment demands two workers, on average, for 5 to 7 days. So, we are talking about creating millions of jobs over the next few years.

Imagine that at the end of the month, we received a credit in the energy bill and not a debt to pay? Or that FPL, instead of investing hundreds of millions to generate power, has a portion of it generated by customers at a lower cost, gaining in the distribution and administration of the system.

Isn’t it worth thinking about this alternative to monopoly-run power? Can’t you see there’s a win-win situation in the works




About the Author

- My name is Carlo Barbieri, an entrepreneur, civic activist and a leader of many organizations associated with Brazil. A native of Brazil myself, I am currently the CEO of Oxford Group, a firm composed of many international consulting and trading companies. I am also a founding member of the Brazilian Business Group and founding member and Past President of the Brazil Club. In addition, I serve as a Board member of the Deerfield Chamber of Commerce. I have served as a member of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Brazil Partnership. Past President of the Rotary Club – Boca Raton West for the 2014-2015 term, I have also been Vice President and Professor of 2Grow – Human Development. An Ambassador of Barry University in Brazil, I am the former President of the Black Fire Bull Steak House. I have also presided over a number of organizations such as the Brazilian Association of Trading Companies (ABECE), Brazil-China Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo, Brazil-Australia Chamber of Commerce, Brazil-Dominican Republican Chamber of Commerce; director of the Trade Center of the State of São Paulo, Brazilian Association of Freight Forwarders and Brazilian Association of Banks. I was also a local Council member for the Consulate General of Brazil in Miami, for the 2013-2017 term.

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