In 2018, NextEra Energy continued to build on its position as the world's largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and today continues to execute a power plant modernization program that means substantially lower air emissions rates and a huge reduction in its dependence on foreign oil. This multibillion-dollar investment program has created construction jobs across numerous states and enough new affordable, reliable and clean energy to power millions of homes and businesses.
The investment program embraces our core belief of strength through differences, and supports a diverse business community of qualified small-, women- and minority-owned businesses. From Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018, we entered into more than $635 million in contracts with small and diverse businesses. Moreover, on certain major construction projects, we encourage prime suppliers to exercise reasonable efforts to seek and use local labor and other resources, whenever possible and cost effective.
FPL has consistently supported the vision that if Florida's economy grows, everyone wins. Recent data shows Florida's economy is growing once again, and FPL is doing its part to energize economic opportunity across its service territory. That's why in 2011, FPL created its Office of Economic Development.
FPL's Office of Economic Development is a one-stop resource for new and expanding businesses considering expansion in Florida. And in addition to FPL's low electric rates, FPL offers two economic development incentives to growing business through its Economic Development Rider and Commercial Industrial Rider. Through 2018, 160 companies have qualified for the discounted rate and they are expected to add 27,845 jobs in Florida.
Learn more about how FPL's economic development team helps bring jobs and investment to Florida at PoweringFlorida.com.
The Powering Florida Resource Center provides site selection experts with direct access to information about the state's workforce, real estate, utility rates and potential discounts and incentives. In addition, it also provides local economic development organizations in Florida with tailored data about their communities to help them better market their strengths and target potential businesses. FPL's Office of Economic team works hand-in-hand with state and local organizations to keep Florida as one of the top states for growing businesses.