Solar Powering The Sunshine State

The current population of the state of Sunshine State, Florida is approximately 21.93 million people[1]. In September 2020, state utilities[2] used natural gas (76.1%), nuclear (11.7%), coal (8.3%), and renewable energy (3.9%) 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 September 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Florida was 11.97 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.55 ¢ per kWh.

Florida is one of only 13 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard requirement nor a goal. The states does have incentives, tax credits, and loan programs for select types of renewable energy technology.

Florida has abundant solar and biomass resources, but very limited wind energy potential. Recent renewable energy project developments in the state include:

  • 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.
  • 45 MW Biomass Project – Georgia power company, Biomass Gas & Electric has announced plans to build a biomass power plant that will be fueled by woody biomass and energy crops in Gulf County.
  • 50 MW Biomass Project – Duke Energy subsidiary, Adage LLC has announced plans to build a wood waste-fired power plant in Hamilton County.
  • 74.5 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, Florida Power & Light (FPL) commissioned the Egret Solar Energy Center, located in Baker County.
  • 74.5 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, FLP commissioned the Lakeside Solar Energy Center, located in Okeechobee County.
  • 74.5 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, FLP commissioned the Nassau Solar Energy Center, located in Nassau County.
  • 74.5 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, FLP commissioned the Trailside Solar Energy Center, located in St. Johns County.
  • 74.5 MW Solar Project – In December 2020, FLP commissioned the Union Springs Solar Energy Center, located in Union County.
  • 74.9 MW Solar Project – Duke Energy Florida is continuing work on the Twin Rivers Solar Power Plant in Hamilton County. The solar parks is scheduled to be commissioned by March 2021.
  • 74.9 MW Solar Project – Duke Energy Florida is continuing work on the Santa Fe Solar Power Plant in Columbia County. The solar parks is scheduled to be completed by March 2021.

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 power from coal-fired and nuclear plants is causing Florida utilities to develop low-cost solar and natural gas power plants. 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 energy future is solar and biomass.

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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