ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer welcomed attendees to the 2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit, held at the Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Sand Lake Road on Tuesday.
The summit is hosted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Office of Energy and brought together leaders in technology, sustainability, environmental science, agriculture production, government, academic research, technology, and finance from across the state and around the nation.
Officials said the attendees would share ideas and strategies on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and climate change.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried also spoke at the event to discuss Florida’s clean energy investments in the federal infrastructure package.
“This new law will be a game changer for communities across the entire state,” Fried said. “From helping rebuild our roads and bridges be safe and more resilient, to facing of climate change, to investing in passenger rail and other public transportation.”
Dyer said the funding could be directed towards expanding the city’s electric charging stations and commuter rail.
“With $66 billion in new investments in rail, we believe SunRail is well positioned to compete for expansion funding,” Dyer said.
During the summit there was also discussion of recently filed bills to transition Florida to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.
“We all want to make sure that we are protecting our environment and we’ve got clean water and clean beaches and clean air,” Fried said. “These are not partisan issues and so we have to win by coming together and moving these issues forward.”
Meanwhile, Orlando officials said the city is also expanding sustainability efforts, which was demonstrated with businesses signing Orlando Utility Company’s Solar Pledge in October.
Dyer said best the way to create a lasting impact on climate change is through collaboration.
“We can’t do it just as a city government or we can’t just do it as a utility,” he said. “We need our citizens and our businesses to also play a critical role in that.”