FDACS Energy Summit Seal

2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit

Commissioner's Message

We have all been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic. How we recover from this public health crisis will also shape how we tackle the climate change crisis.

As a result of the pandemic, we saw a sharp decline in economic activity and emissions. Whether we simply recover or thrive depends on the decisions we make today. We can choose to pursue a net zero carbon future by investing in low-carbon technologies, reinforcing the positive behavior changes that were observed working from and staying home, and mitigating the impacts of our actions.

The 2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit will examine what it takes to achieve a net zero carbon future including the required technology, economic, financial, and societal changes. It also requires all of us to work together. It’s imperative that all our Florida residents and visitors to our great state adopt behaviors that use energy more efficiently. We must lessen the environmental impacts of energy production and work collaboratively to find new ways to use our energy sources more wisely and more economically.

The conversation of energy and climate is not an us versus them discussion. Energy impacts every single one of us – every single day, all day long. We use energy to produce food, power our devices and homes, move around our communities, and drive our industries and economy. Meanwhile, climate change is posing an accelerating threat to our state, economy, and daily life.

I invite you to be a part of this very important conversation and join me, either in person or virtually, at the 2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit. Together, we can keep Florida growing sustainably!


Nicole “Nikki” Fried
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

Preliminary Agenda

2021 Florida Energy & Climate Summit


The Florida Hotel and Conference Center, Orlando, FL

*Please note the agenda is subject to change.


12:00-5 :00pm
Registration – Welcome to the 2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit!
1:00 – 2:30pm
  • Tour 1– Amway Center
  • Tour 2– OUC Gardenia facility


Registration Desk Opens
  • Continental Breakfast Provided
  • Networking Opportunities
Opening Comments
Kelley Smith Burk, Executive Director, Office of Energy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando
Commissioner’s Address
Commissioner Nikki Fried, Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Energy Equity- As the energy sector moves towards a cleaner energy future, it may be easy for low-income residents who already struggle with high energy costs to get left behind. This panel explores the effects of energy burdens on our communities, and how to ensure an economic balance.
Moderated by Will Bryan, Built Environment Project Manager for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA)
  • Dr. Olveen Carrasquillo, M.D., M.P.H., University of Miami
  • Patricia Gómez, Ph.D., Senior Resilience/Energy Program Manager, Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience
Networking Break
Energy and Agriculture - Florida agriculture is a $147 billion industry and is the second largest income producing industry in the state. Sprawling developments and the changing climate are forcing agriculture producers to use less water and cropland while still feeding Florida’s growing population. This session will focus on how Florida agriculture producers are using innovative practices and technologies to achieve a zero-carbon future.
Moderated by Justin Vandenbroeck, Vice President, Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FLASEIA)
  • Ernie Shea, President, Solutions from the Land
  • Zeina El-Azzi, Chief Development Officer, Senior VP & Co-founder, Brightmark Energy
  • Andrew Sauber, Director of Corporate Sustainability, Florida Crystals Corporation
Transportation - Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation activities account for one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, making them the largest contributor of U.S. GHG emissions. Learn how this is affecting our roadways on a regional level, and how local governments are embracing new technologies in order to reduce GHG emissions and reduce fuel costs.
Moderated by Jennifer Weiss, Senior Policy Associate, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
  • Doug Kettles, Director, Central Florida’s Clean Cities Coalition
  • Pete Westlake, OUC
Fireside Chat - Florida Solar Energy Center
  • Dr. James Fenton, Director, Florida Solar Energy Center
Workforce Development - Transformational change is happening across the energy sectors. Innovative technologies being deployed offer new and exciting career opportunities. However, these technologies are also disruptive to the traditional workforce, which leaves them vulnerable to being left behind. Learn how jobs in the state are changing, and what is being done to prepare Florida’s workforce to excel in a changing work environment.
Moderated by Luis Nieves-Ruiz, Economic Development Manager, East Central FL Planning Council
  • Jennifer Szaro, President & CEO, Association of Energy Services Professionals
  • Dr. Amy Albee-Levine, Dean of Workplace Development, Lake-Sumter State College
  • Natasha Campbell, Founding Director, Historical Black Colleges and Universities, Clean Energy Initiative
Resiliency - The climate of Florida is changing. While the extent and causes of these changes are subject to intense debate, doing nothing to address rising sea levels and protecting utility infrastructure against more intense storms is not an option. Additionally, recent events have shown the importance of protecting against manmade attacks that threaten critical facilities. Learn what entities in our state are doing to address these challenges.
Moderated by Alisha Lopez, Clean Cities Coordinator, South Florida Regional Planning Council
  • Jason Grant, Energy Management Analyst, Miami-Dade County Water & Sewer Department
  • Dave Robau, Executive Director, Gulf Coast Energy Network
  • Laura Ritter, Lead Security Policy Advisor, Duke Energy
Fireside chat
Summit concludes for day


Registration Desk Opens
  • Continental Breakfast Provided
  • Networking Opportunities
Opening Comments
Kelley Smith Burk, Executive Director, Office of Energy, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Fireside Chat – The Relationship between Cities and Counties in Energy, Sustainability, and Resiliency
  • Chris Castro, Director of Sustainability and Resilience, City of Orlando
  • Jeff Benavides, Sustainability and Resilience Officer, Orange County Government: County Administrator’s Office
Emerging Technologies- Over the last decade, the clean energy sector has been defined by enormous innovation and investment in emerging technologies. Innovation in clean and renewable energy technologies continues accelerating at a rapid rate. As Florida moves towards a more sustainable energy future these emerging technologies will play a vital role. This session will showcase recent deployment of technologies, such as floating solar, renewable biofuels, and green hydrogen, along with a discussion of their potential for further utilization.
Moderated by Saeed Moghaddam, Director of Nanostructured Energy Systems (NES) Laboratories, University of Florida
  • Sam Choi, TBD Technologies, OUC
  • William Mundt, Director of Development, FPL
Lowering Energy Costs at Educational Facilities - Florida School Districts and Universities have realized energy savings through energy efficient design, construction, and energy management plans. Learn best management practices to save money, improve efficiencies, and reduce consumption from our panel of experts as they discuss working with energy service companies, and the energy efficient design of educational facilities
Moderated by Sarah Boren, Director of U.S. Market Transformation & Development, U.S. Green Building Council
  • Curt Wade, Senior Director of Utilities & Energy Services, The University of Central Florida
  • Erick Laventure, Administrative Director of Design & Sustainability, Miami Dade Public Schools
  • Chris Farkas, Deputy Superintendent, Chief Operation Officer, Hillsborough County Public Schools
Fireside Chat – Reflections from COP26 in Glasgow
  • Rock Aboujaoude, Graduate Student, University of Florida, COP26 attendee
Closing Remarks
Summit Concludes

Summit Registration



The 2021 Florida Energy and Climate Summit will be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center.

Make your hotel reservations here Florida Energy & Climate Summit.

Hotel reservations must be made by Wednesday, November 10, 2021 in order to receive the summit special rate.

Contact Us

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