While Florida may fall to the middle of the pack when it comes to overall energy production, it is fifth in the nation in natural gas consumption, fourth in petroleum consumption, and third in retail electricity sales. Overall, the state is the nation’s third largest consumer of energy. In short, known for tourism and agriculture, Florida has a huge energy consumption footprint. Fortunately, residents have a variety of energy sources to choose from when it comes to electric transmission and distribution.
Statewide, there are twelve investor-owned utility companies that provide energy from a variety of source – natural gas, solar, fossil fuels, and nuclear energy. Only second to Texas in net electricity natural gas generation, Florida’s energy portfolio consists of 62% generation by natural gas, 21% from coal, 12% from nuclear power, and 5% from renewable energy and other resources. Florida ranks seventh in the nation in its generation of utility-scale solar energy.
For years, President Obama has championed an “all of the above” approach to energy policy, siting increases in the use of natural gas, clean coal, biofuels, wind, solar, domestic oil, and nuclear power as ways to decrease American dependence on foreign oil. By the look of things, Florida is already well on its way to doing its part to meet the president’s challenge of diversifying energy production efforts.
Florida’s progressive regulatory environment even favors the “all of the above” approach. The state’s Public Service Commission is tasked with finding the most economically viable means of promoting and protecting consumer interests when it comes to basic utility services like electricity, telecommunications, and water. And the commissioners have been known to be savvy in adopting policies that enable utilities to experiment with new sources of energy production while ensuring that consumers are not made to pay unreasonable fees for their all-essential electricity service.
In all, there is no shortage of demand for greater energy options in the state of Florida, and if current trends persist, it will only continue to be a place where fuel source diversity is a must in order to meet consumer need.