Cutting emissions is necessary. It is also good for the economy. Using less fossil fuel through efficiency and new technology like electric vehicles, solar, and green infrastructure saves money and will create new good paying jobs. We call this opportunity to create jobs supporting health and the environment the "Green Economy."
In Miami-Dade County, the green economy is poised for growth. That growth will be driven by small businesses, which contribute 80% of Miami-Dade's jobs. It will primarily come from existing businesses and entrepreneurs in construction, engineering, manufacturing, software, agriculture, landscaping, and the service sector expanding to provide products and services as diverse as solar panels, energy audits, home renovation efficiency improvements, plants for bioswales, and alternatives to single-use-plastics.
New growth towards a green economy will also come from clean technology startups providing innovations like networked sensors and software that companies, governments, and consumers can use to save energy and money. It will also come from large energy-intensive industries. Cement manufacturers like CEMEX and Titan have made major commitments to cutting their global emissions, including hiring local firms to provide green solutions. Hospitals are another vital industry that is innovating to cut emissions through investments in energy efficiency, community solar, and telemedicine. Local universities and colleges provide the talent and innovation at the heart of the emerging green economy.
Miami-Dade County will work with partners across the community to accelerate the transition to a green economy powered by clean energy through a three-step approach:
- Create Demand: Use multi-billion dollar local government, university, hospital, and large business procurement budgets to buy locally sourced green products and services, coordinated by the Anchor Alliance. Invest in energy efficiency, solar, and battery backup, starting with lower income communities that have older houses and pay more of their income to energy, i.e., have higher energy burdens. Expand green infrastructure countywide using locally grown trees and plants.
- Build a Supply of Green Businesses and Workers: Develop a 21st century workforce through training and apprenticeships in collaboration with CareerSource, the Beacon Council, universities, and major employers. Expand existing small business mentorship and accelerator programs in collaboration with the Office of Equity and Inclusion. Work with Florida Power & Light, the growing tech sector, and the startup community to meet the demand for clean homes and transportation.
- Finance the Transition: Create a regional "green lending" network in collaboration with CDFIs and private banks to leverage federal and state grants and loans to make it easy for low to moderate income (LMI) homeowners and businesses to finance energy efficiency upgrades including weatherization, solar, and electric vehicle infrastructure. These same tools can be used to finance other resilience projects like septic to sewer, green infrastructure, and floodproofing.