Solar For The Sunshine State

The current population of the state of Sunshine State, Florida is approximately 21.99 million people[1]. In July 2020, state utilities[2] used natural gas (78.1%), nuclear (9.8%), coal (8.0%), and renewable energy (4.1%) to generate electricity. Solar and biomass are the primary sources of renewable energy in Florida.

Florida’s use of inexpensive natural gas contributes to the state’s below average cost of electricity. In July 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Florida was 11.71 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.26 ¢ per kWh.

Florida is one of only 13 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard requirement nor a goal. In 2017, the state did mandate that all residential and commercial buildings adopt the International Energy Conservation Code.

Florida has very limited renewable energy potential, outside of solar. Recent renewable energy project developments in the state include:

  • 5 MW Solar Project – In May 2020, State utility, Florida Power & Light (FPL) commenced operation of the Echo River Solar Energy Center in Suwannee County.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In May 2020, FPL commenced operation of the Southfork Solar Energy Center in Manatee County.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In May 2020, FPL commenced operation of the Okeechobee Solar Energy in Okeechobee County.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In May 2020, FPL commenced operation of the Hibiscus Solar Energy Center in Palm Beach County.
  • 9 MW Solar Project – State utility, Duke Energy Florida has commenced construction on the Twin Rivers Solar Power Plant in Hamilton County. The solar parks is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2020.
  • 9 MW Solar Project – Duke Energy Florida has commenced construction on the Santa Fe Solar Power Plant in Columbia County. The solar parks is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2020.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – FPL has announced plans to produce hydrogen from solar power. The hydrogen would be used to replace natural gas used at the Okeechobee gas-fired plant. The project is forecast to be operational in 2023.

Florida is now the 3rd most populated state, following only California and Texas. The state’s tropical weather results in the almost continuous use of air conditioning. Florida’s hot and humid weather explains why the state is 2nd only to Texas in the amount of electricity produced.

The high cost of coal-fired and nuclear power plants are causing Florida utilities to move to low-cost solar and natural gas. However, natural gas is not a renewable resource and demand for the commodity will once again outstrip supply causing prices to skyrocket. Long term, the Sunshine State’s future is solar power.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Florida Population 2020, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

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