With miles of coastline and year-round warmth, Florida is unlike any other state when it comes to electricity. Robust demand stems from booming population centers and an economy expanding beyond tourism. This blog examines Florida’s electricity generation by source fueling this unique landscape of air conditioners, theme parks, and beyond.
We’ll explore Florida’s position as the third largest electricity producer nationwide. What powers all those flashing neon lights and chilled condos along the beach? Mainly natural gas, with solar gaining ground. Florida’s major utilities adapt the grid to growing needs by advancing renewables, storage and microgrids.
Learn more as we delve into the current breakdown and future trends around Florida’s electricity generation. Discover what sets it apart and how its profile shapes planning from providers across the Sunshine State.
Florida: surprising facts
You may be surprised to learn that Florida is the third largest electricity producer in the U.S. The state is in a virtual tie with California and only the two combined can top Texas. After those three is a pack of seven, followed by the remaining 40 states and Washington, D.C.
What’s more? Electric use is not dominated by Disney World and tourism. Florida has one of the most diverse and fastest growing economies in the nation.
So, where does the energy go? Florida has the largest percentage of homes in the nation that gets both residential cooling and heating from electricity. It’s the only state wherein more than 50% of electric consumption is for residential homes. Commercial sources are next at approximately 40%, and industry and other make up the balance of energy consumption.
Energy consumption remains high in both summer and winter seasons. In the summer air conditions naturally peak in the afternoon, while in the winter heating and cooking tends to adjust increase in the mornings and evenings as residents begin and end their day.
As Florida’s power needs grow, adapting Florida’s electricity generation by source will be key through technologies like solar, storage, and microgrids.
Does Florida have its own power grid?
Unlike Texas and California, which participate in ISO (Independent System Operators) or RTO (Regional Transmission Organizations), Florida does not belong to a regional grid operator. Most of the state’s transmission system is self-contained within its narrow landmass.
So, who provides the electricity? Five major Independently Operated Utilities (IOUs) do: Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light (FPL, a NextEra company), Gulf Power (acquired by FPL), Tampa Electric Company (owned by Emera), and Florida Public Utilities Company (owned by Chesapeake). In addition, there are many co-operatives and public power entities who provide distribution services. At present, only a few of these also provide Generation or Transmission services: Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) (or its members), Seminole Electric Cooperative, Power South, and Gulf Coast Electric Cooperative.
Many of these utilities participate in a wholesale power pool known as the Florida Municipal Power Pool (FMPP). FMPP is updating its operating plans and procedures to add additional ancillary services. The new ancillary services are needed to accommodate the growth in solar power and the retirement of coal generation in Florida.
Preparing for the future
By 2030, FMPP foresees that solar power will be 32% of its supply replacing the retired coal units with reliability supplied from additional combined cycle units and 5% battery storage. This change in portfolio mix will greatly increase variability in real-time operating hours, hence the need for a modification to how it defined and manages ancillary services to ensure grid reliability.
Florida’s rapid population and economic growth over the decades have led to expansion of its electricity demand. The state will need to continue adapting its generation and grid capabilities to meet evolving residential, commercial, and industrial needs.
Emerging technologies like electric vehicles, energy storage, microgrids, and distributed energy resources will shape the future Florida electric grid. Proactive planning and investment will help ensure Florida’s electricity remains reliable, sustainable, and affordable.
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