June 25, 2022
A profile of Florida's climate, sustainability and energy consumption

Climate, Sustainability and Energy

A profile of Florida's climate, sustainability and energy consumption

Mark R. Howard | 2/8/2022

Big Consumer, Big Producer

  • Among the states, Florida (third in population) is the nation’s second-largest producer of energy and the fourth-largest consumer of energy.

It’s Easier to Cool Than Heat

  • Per capita, Floridians rank 47th in energy consumption.
  • Texans consume more than twice the energy per capita as Floridians; residents of Wyoming consume nearly five times as much per capita.

Growth and Expectations

  • The state’s population is expected to increase about 20% between 2020-30.
  • Public Service Commission figures indicate that gigawatt-hours of generation will increase about 8.5% from 2021-30 while residential customer growth will rise 11.7%. The PSC says the difference between the population growth figures and the PSC’s projections “can be explained by declining use per customer. The residential use per customer is expected to decline 1.41% during that period; commercial use is expected to decline 1.71%.”

Power Sources

Less Coal

  • Nearly 70% of Florida’s power is generated using natural gas. The portion generated using coal has fallen from about a third in 2003 to less than 10% today.

Nuclear

  • Nuclear power provides more than 10% of the state’s electricity generation.

Renewables:

A Long Way to Go

  • Solar provided just 4% of electricity generation in Florida in 2021. Power generation from renewables — biofuels, biomass, hydro, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, solar and wind — totaled just 6% of overall generation in 2021.
  • Solar is the only renewable power source expected to increase substantially as a percentage of overall power generation between 2022-30. Public Service Commission data indicate that solar, as a percentage of overall power generation, will rise from 4% in 2021 to 14% in 2030.
  • Renewables overall will rise from about 6% to 15% as a percentage of the total — meaning that in 2030, about 85% of the power generated in Florida will still have to come from natural gas, nuclear and coal. Solar-generating facilities, of course, can’t harness solar energy at night.

Why Are Solar Fields 74.5 Megawatt?

Most utility-scale solar generating facilities are built with the capacity to generate about 74.5 megawatts of electricity. Facilities with more than that must meet state and federal power plant siting regulations that drive up the cost. A survey of utilities around the state didn’t find any companies pushing to relax those regulations.

Florida’s MAJOR UTILITIES

FPL

  • FPL, Florida's largest solar producer, has 50 solar generation facilities in operation, which have brought the company’s solar capacity to 3,611 megawatts. FPL commissioned the largest solar-powered battery storage facility in the world and announced a green hydrogen pilot project last year.
  • The company expects to have more than 100 solar energy centers in operation by the end of 2030, with a total of 30 million solar panels installed statewide.
  • FPL closed its last coal plant, the Indiantown Cogeneration plant in Martin County, at the end of 2020. The utility bought the plant for the sole purpose of shutting it down.

Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC)

  • OUC has five solar generating facilities and will more than double its solar generation portfolio by purchasing power from two 74.5-megawatt solar fields now under construction.
  • OUC will also serve as the largest tenant of a new 223.5-megawatt solar facility, purchasing 108.5 megawatts. In partnership with the Florida Municipal Power Agency, this will be one of the largest municipal-backed solar facilities in the nation.

JEA

  • JEA currently purchases power from eight utility-scale solar generating facilities.
  • The utility is performing a study to determine future electric generation resources. The study is scheduled to be completed near the end of 2022.

TECO (Emera)

  • Tampa Electric has 11 utility-scale solar plants in operation, totaling 652 megawatts.
  • An additional 600 megawatts will be commissioned by the end of 2023 at 11 sites. Four of those are under construction and will be completed in the next few months.
  • TECO plans to expand its solar portfolio between 2022-30 (and beyond) but does not have the number of sites defined at this point.

Gulf Power

  • Gulf Power has four solar facilities and five proposed solar generating facilities. After FPL purchased Gulf Power, the utility stopped burning coal at its Plant Crist in Escambia County and is converting the plant to run on natural gas.

Lakeland Electric

  • Lakeland Electric has five solar generating facilities that can generate about 15 megawatts of power.

Others

  • The following utilities also operate solar generating facilities:
  • Bartow Solar Energy
  • Gainesville Regional Utilities-Reedy Creek Improvement District (Disney)
  • Tallahassee
  • Winter Park
  • Okeefenokee Rural Electric Membership
  • Seminole Electric

Tags: Energy & Utilities, Feature

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