Tampa Electric invests $5M in USF research toward net zero emissions by 2050

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Emerging technologies and innovations are critical to the success of Tampa Electric’s vision to achieve net zero carbon emissions. And this week, Tampa Electric invested $5 million in the University of South Florida’s College of Engineering to accelerate this effort.

“This partnership is a key pillar in our vision to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “We have made great progress: Carbon emissions today are half what they were in 2000, and our investment in solar power has reduced fuel costs by more than $100 million this year. But our vision of a net-zero future will not be an easy journey. The path will undoubtedly include emerging technologies and innovations. We feel a responsibility to help fund and spur that innovation, and what better partner than the talented team at USF.”

The $5 million donation, derived from shareholder funds, will create an endowed fund to support the Clean Energy Research Center’s (CERC) exploration, research and development of innovative energy technologies, which Tampa Electric plans to utilize to achieve carbon reductions and improve the environment.

“The university is committed to conducting high-impact research to help solve global problems and improve lives, and clean energy accomplishes both,” said USF President Rhea Law. “We are grateful to Tampa Electric for their investment and this opportunity to collaborate on finding innovative solutions to reduce carbon emissions, find affordable clean energy alternatives and protect our beautiful Tampa Bay region.”

Significant progress has already been achieved in Tampa Electric’s journey to a net-zero emissions future. Since 2000, coal usage at Tampa Electric has been reduced by 90%, which has allowed the utility to cut carbon dioxide emissions in half despite demand for power increasing by 25%.

The Tampa Bay investor-owned utility is also the leading producer of solar energy per customer in the state. So far, the company has installed nearly 900 megawatts (MW) of solar. By the end of 2023, Tampa Electric will be generating enough solar energy to power 200,000 homes and will have the highest percentage of solar power of any utility in Florida, with more to come.

“Renewable energy resources provide substantial benefits to our society, economy, and overall health through job development and creation, and reduced carbon emissions and pollution,” said Robert H. Bishop, Dean of the USF College of Engineering. “The development of environmentally friendly, clean energy systems provides enormous benefits and opportunities to society through reduced dependence on non-renewal fuel sources and reduction of greenhouse gasses and air pollution.”

It is worth mentioning that Tampa Electric’s net-zero emission ambition is not at the expense of affordability for the more than 800,000 Tampa Electric customers. In fact, the utility has kept bills well under the national average while increasing reliability and reducing its impact on the environment.

Next up on Tampa Electric’s path to net-zero emissions is achieving a 60% carbon reduction by 2025 and an 80% reduction by 2040.

For more information on Tampa Electric’s vision for 2050, visit its webpage on carbon reduction.

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