In 2019, NextEra Energy continued to build on its position as the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and today continues to execute a power plant modernization program that means substantially lower air emissions rates and a huge reduction in its dependence on foreign oil. This multibillion-dollar investment program has created construction jobs across numerous states and enough new affordable, reliable and clean energy to power millions of homes and businesses.
The investment program embraces our core belief of strength through differences, and supports a diverse business community of qualified small-, women- and minority-owned businesses. From Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019, we entered into more than $641 million in contracts with small and diverse businesses. Moreover, on certain major construction projects, we encourage prime suppliers to exercise reasonable efforts to seek and use local labor and other resources, whenever possible and cost effective.
FPL has consistently supported the vision that if Florida's economy grows, everyone wins. Recent data shows Florida's economy is growing once again, and FPL is doing its part to energize economic opportunity across its service territory. That's why in 2011, FPL created its Office of Economic Development.
FPL's Office of Economic Development is a one-stop resource for new and expanding businesses considering expansion in Florida. And in addition to FPL's low electric rates, FPL offers two economic development incentives to growing business through its Economic Development Rider and Commercial Industrial Rider. Through 2019, the Office of Economic Development has worked with 190 companies and they are expected to add over 30,000 jobs in Florida.
In 2019, Site Selection magazine named FPL, under NextEra Energy, Inc., as one of the Top U.S. Utilities in Economic Development. FPL was also selected to be featured as one of the Editor’s Picks for the Top Utilities feature in Business Facilities’ January/February 2020 issue.
More recently, in early 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, NextEra Energy and our employees committed more than $4 million in emergency assistance funds that is being distributed directly to those in need and to partner organizations to provide critical support to the most vulnerable members of the communities we serve.
Learn more about how FPL's economic development team helps bring jobs and investment to Florida at PoweringFlorida.com.
The Powering Florida Resource Center provides site selection experts with direct access to information about the state's workforce, real estate, utility rates and potential discounts and incentives. In addition, it also provides local economic development organizations in Florida with tailored data about their communities to help them better market their strengths and target potential businesses. FPL's Office of Economic team works hand-in-hand with state and local organizations to keep Florida as one of the top states for growing businesses.
In early 2020, FPL launched a new innovation hub – 35 mules. The hub will help entrepreneurs develop their game-changing ideas in energy, water and energy-adjacent industries into a business based in Florida, further supporting the state’s economic growth and stimulating the business environment. The startups will have a dedicated workspace on FPL’s Juno Beach campus for 12 to 18 months. The entrepreneurs will also have access to subject matter experts in solar, renewables, innovation and smart grid; along with a grant to put toward their venture and free coaching from executives.
The program’s unique name comes from FPL’s humble beginnings in 1925, when a very unlikely patchwork of enterprises combined to form the precursor to NextEra Energy, including an ice plant, a sponge boat and 35 mules.