Florida Trend

Florida Small Business



May 24, 2018


Mega-state, Mega-opportunities

Meeting today’s energy challenges while preserving the environment for tomorrow.

John M. Dunn | 10/1/2007

ENERGY - Alternatives for the future

  • Hopes are high that a $425-million facility built by Atlanta-based Geoplasma could make St. Lucie the first county in the nation to use plasma arcs to transform landfill garbage into electricity.

  • Petroalgae, part of XL Tech Group, a Melbourne, Florida-based company, is developing commercially viable technologies to grow and harvest oil from algae.

  • Research is under way in Boca Raton at Florida Atlantic University’s Center of Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology to explore ways to generate energy using the Gulf Stream ocean currents that lie just off the Florida coast.

  • Tallahassee will soon become the first city in the country to generate electricity from wood waste thanks to the city council’s approval for the building of a $90-million gasification plant by Atlanta-based alternative energy producer Biomass Gas & Electric Company.


  • The Port Sutton Envirofuels Company is poised to build Florida’s first ethanol-from-corn plant in Tampa. Other fuels made from citrus trees or sugar cane forestry waste also are under consideration.

  • State legislators awarded $20 million to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to establish a research facility for creating a commercial grade of ethanol from woody parts of plants.

  • Gainesville’s city commission has rejected a new coal burning power plant, and instead is considering various forms of biomass fuels.

  • A new crop-fueled power plant under consideration for the Lake Okeechobee area could be up and running in 2008 and generating electricity for 83,000 Progress Energy customers.


  • Florida Power & Light (FP&L) — the state’s largest investor-owned utility — is building a 250-kilowatt solar plant in Sarasota and also is exploring a wind-powered project in St. Lucie County.

  • Tampa Bay’s Middleton High School boasts a 10,500-watt, 60-pane solar panel array, the largest for any educational center in Florida. Instructors will use it to teach students about solar energy, and the system can also be used to provide supplementary power for the Red Cross emergency shelter located on the school campus.

  • The University of Central Florida’s Solar Energy Center has partnered with builders to construct prototypical “zero-energy” homes in Lakeland and New Smyrna Beach that utilize the sun to power energy-saving appliances and heating/cooling systems. The University of West Florida is also constructing a home that is both energy efficient and hurricane resistant. “Florida is moving in the right direction in solar power and just getting started,” says Dr. James Fenton, director of the Solar Energy Center. “We could be the leader in solar energy, and why not? After all, we are the Sunshine State.”

Turkey Point, operated by Florida Power & Light, is one of three nuclear power plants in Florida. [Photo courtesy of Florida Power & Light Company]


  • Florida has three nuclear plants and may get two more. FP&L is considering the construction of a plant next to an existing nuclear facility on Turkey Point south of Miami. And Progress Energy Florida is laying the groundwork for a possible nuclear facility in Levy County in Florida’s North Central region.


In addition to five water management boards, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Public Service Commission — all of which have a hand in setting water policy and managing water supplies — several other entities, both public and private, are joining the effort to keep Florida’s water infrastructure healthy and strong.

  • In Sarasota County, a combinaton of “green” building codes and conservation has dropped daily water consumption from 148 to 88 gallons — a 40% reduction.

  • At the University of Florida Water Institute, 168 faculty members from 50 academic disciplines are “pooling” their expertise to improve water management policy and methodologies. “Our goal is to make Florida’s water management a model for the nation and the world,” says the Institute’s director Dr. Wendy Graham.

  • Legislation passed in 2005 for a funding package that, if approved annually, could provide up to $1.1 billion over 10 years for water-related projects, such as the creation of alternative water supplies, solutions to waste water and pollution problems and programs for water reuse and conservation.

Tags: North Central, Energy & Utilities, Environment, Business Florida

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