Leaders Put Technology in the Spotlight at Aspen Ideas: Climate in Miami Beach

Written by Riley Kaminer

Congressmen, governors, technologists, researchers, consultants and corporate climate staff all descended on Miami Beach this week for the inaugural Aspen Ideas: Climate conference. Local leaders shared their thoughts on climate change with a global audience of 1,000 participants.

Technology featured prominently at the conference, which was held against the backdrop of Miami – one of America’s most vulnerable coastal regions. Here’s a summary of the top four ideas from this week’s conference.

1. Climate technology plays a central role in the government’s plan to combat climate change.

From Representatives Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson to Mayors Francis Suarez, Daniela Levine Cava and Dan Gilber, South Florida government officials have come out in full force at Aspen Ideas: Climate.

“Technology is driving this climate shift,” said Gilber of Miami Beach. “It’s technology that gives us solutions and options for responding to climate change.”

For Suarez in Miami, the key is not just adapting to climate change but reversing it. Technology plays a major role, he said.

“Some of the carbon capture technologies I’ve seen in the last year give me a tremendous amount of hope in the innovative spirit of humanity to find ways to disrupt these very serious people. [climate change progression] Suarez said.

Ground zero for many of these technologies is the Port of Miami, where the county has invested in coastal energy infrastructure — a first in the United States — that will allow ships to connect to the local electrical grid while in port. This is a big deal because it will enable cruise ships to avoid spending on fuel during the 15-20% of the life they spend docking in a port.

In a conversation conducted in the Port of Miami with five cruise line CEOs, Miami-Dade’s Levin Cava noted that this innovation wouldn’t be a panacea. “It’s just one of the many things we can do to move toward a net zero carbon impact,” she said. “It is definitely a giant step forward, but we are not stopping here. There is a lot that needs to be done.”

“When the industry works together, we can do amazing things,” added Rick Sassou, President and CEO of MSC Cruises, emphasizing that much of this innovation is happening through industry-wide actions.

2. Miami-Dade launched three new climate technology initiatives.

“Our goal is to make Miami-Dade the best place to build, test, and scale innovative solutions to major climate challenges,” said Daniela Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor. “Innovators and entrepreneurs are stepping up to meet the challenges of climate and resilience, and we welcome their initiatives.”

“Through these public-private partnerships, we leverage solutions and technology innovations to build a stronger and more resilient Miami-Dade business—while investing in the jobs of the future,” she continued.

Levine Cava used the port’s background to announce a few new climate technology initiatives.

First, it announced a four-month pilot program with Austin-based startup Olea Edge to deploy AI-powered technology to locate counters that cost large commercial and industrial users. Levin Kava noted that this program has the potential to save the county millions of taxpayer dollars, while also conserving water.

The second initiative announced was a partnership with Bahamas-based Blue Action Lab and the UK’s Founders Factory for Accelerators and Ventures. The goal is to attract climate technology startups looking to prototype, test and deploy their solutions in Biscayne Bay. Blue Action Lab hopes to raise $10 million to support 30 early-stage and 12 high-growth companies, selected in conjunction with the county.

Levine Cava’s third initiative was to name Bluetech Venture studio, Seaworthy Collective Miami-Dade, the first startup in his residence.

“Headquarters in Mayor Levine Cava’s office allows us to connect innovators with policy makers, reduce barriers to implementation and stimulate collaboration that would otherwise have been isolated,” said Daniel Kleinman, founder and CEO of Seaworthy Collective. Miami recovery.

“This allows Seaworthy to expand upon our community building foundations to help drive the future of Miami’s cutting-edge ocean and climate impact technology ecosystem,” Kleinman continued. “We look forward to expanding our engagement to local stakeholders to help empower the South Florida community to pursue their passion for impact through the opportunities we will develop with the help and support of Mayor Levin Cava.”

3. Patience is a virtue: Most of the most exciting climate technologies are early stage.

Nine international companies presented their solutions in a presentation of emerging technology companies during the conference. Near the house, Anya Freeman [pictured at top of this post] Living Seawalls (formerly the Addition Company) in Miami has outlined its plan to 3D print sea walls that protect beaches and improve water quality.

A little further south in Jamaica, Nicholas Key of Key Farms [pictured below] He outlined his plans to use seaweed and shellfish to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Kee along with Freeman was part of the first group for the Seaworthy Collective.

Silicon Valley startup GoPowerEV was also featured at the show. Founder John Riester, a serial entrepreneur with three successful exits under his belt, has shared his solution to bringing electric vehicle charging to multifamily homes.

While most electric vehicle charging companies deploy one or two massive commercial charging units in parking lots, GoPowerEV’s vision is to deploy the compact units everywhere. This is possible thanks to the turnkey charging solution, which is expected to cost 70% less than the old alternative. This is an innovation particularly relevant to Florida, the US state with the second largest number of electric vehicles (or 14 people).

“The rubber has to hit the road,” Riester said. Miami recovery, emphasizing the immediate need for climate technology solutions. “This event has brought together a passionate and enthusiastic community, including people who have the hands-on ability to solve the problems we face. I was really impressed with the conference and the large group of people working to address these climate issues.”

4. Some of the biggest US companies are using technology to tackle climate change in Miami and beyond.

FPL had a big presence at the conference. CEO Eric Silaghi discussed a range of technology-driven initiatives the company is promising to provide more sustainable energy options for Florida residents. Expanding the use of solar panels is FPL’s top priority, despite supply chain problems slowing their deployment across the state.

Besides solar energy, batteries are a major focus area. “We have just commissioned the largest battery storage facility in the world that is powered by a solar facility,” Silagy [pictured below] He said about a 40-acre battery in Manatee County.

Shannon Carroll, Head of Global Environmental Sustainability at AT&T, also attended and spoke at the conference. In an interview with Miami recoveryCarroll emphasized that the telecom provider’s climate strategy includes a goal to develop solutions that collectively help business customers reduce gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.

The company has made a major push to collect and share climate data. “We are working to democratize access to this climate data in a way that does not currently exist,” he said.

Why is access to this data important? “We need all the communities we serve to be climate-resilient,” Carroll emphasized. “Our total value chain must be climate-resilient.”

Do you have FOMO? Don’t worry, Aspen Ideas has committed to hosting this conference in Miami Beach for at least the next two years.

Read more about the MIMI update:

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