The population of the “Sunshine State,” Florida is approximately 22.66 million people. Florida is the 3rd most populated state in the United States.
In 2022, Florida’s economy was ranked 4th in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the aviation, aerospace, pharmaceutical, biomedical, tourism, and agriculture industries.
Florida is one of only 13 states that has neither a renewable portfolio standard requirement nor a goal for electric utilities.
Power Generation Capabilities
In February 2023, utilities used natural gas (74.2%), nuclear power (13.6%), , renewable energy (8.0 %), and coal (4.2%)and to generate electricity in Florida. Solar and biomass are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Florida.
In February 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Florida was 15.93¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.96¢ per kWh.
Recent renewable energy projects in Florida include:
- 409 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2021, Florida Power & Light commissioned the Manatee Energy Storage Center in Manatee County, located in the west central region of the state.
- 9 MW Solar Project – In June 2022, Duke Energy Florida commissioned the Fort Green Renewable Energy Center, located in the south central region of the state.
- 9 MW Solar Project – In April 2021, Duke Energy Florida commissioned the Twin Rivers Solar Power Plant in Hamilton County, located in the north central region of the state.
- 9 MW Solar Project – In April 2021, Duke Energy Florida commissioned the Santa Fe Solar Power Plant in Columbia County, located in the north central region of the state.
- 9 MW Solar Project – In September 2022, Duke Energy Florida commissioned the Charlie Creek Solar Power Plant in Hardee County, located in the central region of the state.
- 5 MW Solar Project – Duke Energy Florida is continuing work on the Fort Green Power Plant in Hardee County, located in the central region of the state. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
- 5 MW Solar Project – Duke Energy Florida is continuing work on the Bay Trail Solar Power Plant in Citrus County, located in the central coastal region of the state. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
Florida has no commercial mines. The coal used to fuel the state’s power plants is imported by rail and barge from Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana.
In 2010, 30.5% of Florida’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. In February 2023, only 4.2% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?
- Economics – The cost to generate power from wind, solar, and hydropower is significantly cheaper than coal. The cost to generate power from coal-fired plants is over twice the cost of wind or solar.
- Environment – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was reported to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America.
- Climate Change – Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.
In the 1990s, Florida’s electric utilities began to move from expensive coal to inexpensive natural gas . As natural gas prices began to climb, Florida utilities began to shift to the cheapest form of power, renewable energy.
Florida has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including offshore wind, solar, and biomass. Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation organization, estimates that Florida could generate 16% of the state’s electricity, just from offshore wind. Solar is booming in the Sunshine State today, but the future may be offshore wind.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.
 Florida Population 2023, World Population Review
 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis
 Biggest Industries in Florida – World Atlas
 National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021
 U.S. Energy Information Agency – Florida State Profile and Energy Estimates, www.eia.gov
 U.S. Energy Information Agency – Florida State Profile and Energy Estimates, Electricity Power Sector, 1960 – 2018
 Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019