Energy policy in Florida

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Energy policy in Florida
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Quick facts
Energy department:
Florida Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources
State population:
19.3 million
Per capita income:
Energy consumption
Total energy consumption:
4217 trillion BTU [1][2]
Per capita energy consumption:
221 million BTU
Energy spending
Total state energy spending:
$68,013 million
Per capita energy spending:
Residential natural gas price:
$20.20 per thousand cubic foot
Residential electricity price:
11.51 cents per kWh
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Energy PolicyEnergy policy in the United StatesFracking in FloridaEnergy and environmental news

Energy policy in Florida depends on geography, natural energy resources, how electricity is generated, how much energy consumers use, politics and the influence of groups such as environmental and industry organizations. Decisions by policymakers, such as state and local governments, utilities and regulatory agencies, affect all citizens economically and environmentally, and are generally geared toward providing reliable, affordable energy. The cost of energy affects not only home heating and electricity bills, and thus disposable income, but also economic growth, including jobs, investment and the cost of doing business in the state.

How energy is produced and consumed also has an impact on the environment and pollution. Energy policy in Florida, and many other states, focuses on decreasing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels by increasing energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. As the infrastructure for producing and delivering renewable energy sources is not as advanced as it is for energy generation from traditional sources, these policies often require subsidies to make the produced energy affordable, and their effects are difficult to measure.

Energy policy involves trade-offs between providing an affordable, consistent energy supply on the one hand, and limiting pollution and protecting the environment, on the other. How states attempt to balance these two differs between states, and often boils down to costs to consumers versus costs to the environment. This article provides general energy information about the state as the context within which energy policy is made, as well as information about major legislation and public and private groups that play a role in setting energy policy in the state.

See also: Energy policy in the United States for more information on energy policy.
See also: Fracking in Florida

Energy overview

State facts

Below are quick facts about Florida’s energy climate.


  • is a net electricity importer.
  • has limited fossil fuels in the form of petroleum and natural gas.
  • has renewable energy in the form of biomass, solar energy and some wind energy.
  • has a facility that can process 8 million gallons of ethanol from citrus fruit, vegetables and yard waste.
  • ranked third in the nation for electrical production from solar energy in 2011.
  • has three nuclear plants, two of which are operating.
  • has the world's first retrofit hybrid solar-natural gas plant.[3]

In Florida

  • households consume about 30 percent less energy than the U.S. average, and spend 6 percent less for electricity than the U.S. average.
  • two thirds of the electricity consumed comes from natural gas.
  • electricity is the main source of energy used in home cooling and heating.
  • renewable energy sources made up less than 2.2 percent of net energy generation in 2011.
  • transportation is the largest energy-consuming sector in the state.[3]

Available energy resources

Florida has limited traditional energy resources, only oil and natural gas. So far, oil has only been found in the panhandle and the southwest areas of the state, but geologists believe there may be substantial reserves off Florida's western coast. Natural gas is found in the same fields as oil and may be available in larger quantities off the western coast alongside the state's the oil. Because natural gas is highly demanded, Florida imports most of its natural gas. The state is a net energy importer.[3]

Florida has renewable energy resources that contributed 2.2 percent of the energy used for generating electricity in 2011 according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Most of the renewable energy comes from biomass, fed by sugarcane and other agricultural and municipal waste. Florida ranks third for electricity production from solar energy. The largest utility scale solar project is the Martin plant, which combined a 75-watt solar facility with a 1,100 megawatt combined natural gas cycle to create the world's first hybrid solar-natural gas plant. Florida does have small hydroelectric and wind resources.[3]

Consumption and prices

Energy consumption in Florida
FL energy consumption chart.png

     Transportation       Residential     Industrial       Commercial
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As shown on the pie chart in 2011,, over one third of Florida’s energy use was for transportation, a little under a third for residential purposes, and just under a quarter for the commercial sector. Only a small portion, just over a tenth, was used for industry. Most of the energy used in the state is in the form of natural gas, followed by petroleum (or gasoline) and coal.[3] Gasoline and jet fuel, used in transportation, account for 90 percent of the petroleum consumed in the state. Generally the price of gasoline in the state tracks closely to the national average.[5] According to the EIA's February 2014 report, the federal excise tax is 18.40 cents/gallon of gasoline and 24.40 cents/gallon of diesel fuel. Florida has an excise tax on all gasoline of only 4 cents per gallon, but an additional tax of 31.5 cents per gallon, putting their total tax at 35.5 cents per gallon. This total makes that state the 10th highest for gasoline taxes in the nation.[6][7]

Comparisons tables

The table below compares Florida’s consumption and spending for energy, as well as prices for gas and electricity, and carbon emissions to those of Arizona, which has similar resources and consumption needs because of their warm climates. Florida and Arizona are different in population, and total consumption, but are similar in consumption and spending per capita. The similarities between household spending in both states is due to similar climate demands. Both states rely heavily on electricity, especially for home cooling during hot summer months. Also given are the U.S. averages and the state rankings. All rankings are from highest to lowest, so, for example:

  • Florida’s rank of fifth in carbon emissions means that carbon emissions are higher in Florida than in Arizona, which has a ranking of 23rd.
  • Per capita income in Florida is higher than in Arizona, which at 42nd ranks 14 places behind Florida’s ranking of 28th in per capita income.
  • Because electricity prices in Florida (24th) and Arizona (28th) are similar, expenditures per capita for both states are also similar.
  • Households in Arizona use more natural gas for home heating than Florida, but the long summers and short winters in both states lessen the demand for home heating.
Consumption and Expenditures Comparisons Summary
Type FloridaArizonaU.S. Figures
FigureU.S. Rank*FigureU.S. Rank*Totals
Population19.3 million46.6 million15313.9 million
Per Capita Income Average$40,34428$35,97942$42,693
Total Consumption4217 trillion BTU31,431 trillion BTU2697,301 quadrillion BTU
Per Capita Energy Consumption221 million BTU44 (tied with AZ)221 million BTU44 (tied with FL)312 million BTU
Total Spending on Energy$68,013 million3$22,465 million24$1,394,088 million
Per Capita Spending on Energy$3,56448$3,47450$4,474
Price of Residential Natural Gas, dollar per thousand cubic feet$20.20215.015$12.48
Price of Electricity, cents per kWh11.512411.062812.31
Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions, million metric tons (2010)24595.9235,631
*Rank is from highest to lowest.

In 2011, almost 50 percent of homes in Florida were heated with natural gas. Electricity heats almost 93 percent of homes.

See also: State Energy Rankings to compare all 50 states
Consumption of energy for heating homes in Florida
Source Florida 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 4.4% 49.5%
Fuel oil .2% 6.5%
Electricity 92.7% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 1.1% 5%
Other/none 1.5% 3.6%

Production and transmission

Florida produced 542.2 BTU of energy in 2011. Of that, nuclear power contributed 44 percent. Natural gas and oil combined accounted for less than 5 percent. Almost 50 percent of that came from what the U.S. Energy Information Administration classifies as 'other,' which is "assumed to equal consumption of all renewable energies except biofuels."[8]

Energy production by type in Florida, 2011
Type Amount Generated
(trillion BTU)
% of State % of USA
Crude oil 11.7 2.23% 0.1%
Natural gas 15.4 2.94% 0.06%
Coal 0 0% 0%
Nuclear 230.4 43.95% 2.79%
Biofuels 0 0% 0%
Other 266.7 50.88% 3.74%

Electricity produced and consumed in Florida is primarily from natural gas, which generates 65 percent of the state's total. Most of the natural gas used in electricity generation is shipped into Florida by two major pipelines: the Florida Gas Transmission line and the Gulfstream Pipeline. These pipelines originate in Gulf Coast states like Texas, Alabama and Mississippi.[3]

Two of Florida's three nuclear power plants provided nearly 10 percent of electricity in the state in 2013.[3] The Crystal River Nuclear Plant was shut down in 2009 after discovering a crack in the outer layer of the containment wall. The plant had been operating since 1977.[9]

Where electricity comes from in Florida[10]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 18,000 0.09% 0.06%
Natural gas-fired 12,415,000 64.98% 1.22%
Coal-fired 3,987,000 20.87% 0.23%
Nuclear 1,935,000 10.13% 0.24%
Other renewables 359,000 1.88% 0.18%
Total net electricity generation 19,106,000 100% 0.47%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

In Florida there are currently 35 municipal electric utilities and 5 private electric utilities. The two largest investor owned utilities are Florida Power and Light Company and Duke Energy Florida Incorporated. For natural gas there are 26 municipal utilities and 7 private natural gas utilities.[11][12]

The electric transmission system in Florida is owned, built and operated primarily by five investor-owned utilities: Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy Florida, Tampa Electric Company, Gulf Power Company and Florida Public Utilities Company. Florida Power & Light Company handles the southern and eastern sections of the state. Duke Energy Florida covers central and northern Florida into the Panhandle. Gulf Power Company services over half the panhandle. The other two cover more localized areas in the state.[13][14]

Energy policy

Policy Issues
Population growth in Florida in the past few decades has led to greater demand for energy, which Florida has had to import. Environmental policy has limited the possibility of more offshore oil and natural gas production, which limits the state's ability to respond to increased energy demand.


See also: Fracking in Florida

Energy policy is made, executed and influenced by many organizations, both public and private, and is codified in the laws and regulations of the state. Each state’s energy policy involves trade-offs in which energy production and prices are weighed against environmental concerns and efficiency. In Florida energy policy focuses on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions instead of mandating renewable energy standards. Renewable energy is promoted on a residential level by Florida's state and local governments. Florida has no official Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that would require investor-owned utilities to supply a minimum percentage of electricity from renewable energy resources, however it does have high energy efficiency standards, requiring energy efficiency programs, greenhouse gas emission caps and sales reductions goals. There are several reasons why Florida has not yet enacted a RPS, including a general lack of planning tools and no policies that create incentives for developers.[15] Another road block may be the opposition to energy projects by conservation groups.[16][17][18][19][20]

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving energy efficiency policy in the United States. They focus on energy policy, research and outreach. Each year, they rank each state by their energy efficiency policies. In 2013, Florida ranked 46th.[21] There are differing estimates about the economic impact of these mandates in terms of costs that may affect prices and jobs, as well as the impact on the environment and pollution. Thus, for example, there are many new studies of what is called the "rebound effect" which refers to the fact that "some of the theoretically estimated gains in energy efficiency will be eroded as consumers consume additional goods and services."[22][23]

Major legislation

  • The Florida Energy and Climate Protection Act (2008) created an electric-utility greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. The goal of the cap and trade program was to reduce greenhouse gas levels sequentially, with a final goal of getting below the state's 1990s levels by 2050. The act also required the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to adopt a (RPS), created a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) (10 percent ethanol by December 31, 2010) and required utilities to develop standardized net metering programs. Both the Florida Energy and Climate Commission (created in 2008 and dissolved in 2011) and the Florida Energy Systems Consortium were established through this act. Finally, the bill increased Florida Building Code energy efficiency standards by 50 percent and required all construction and renovation of state buildings comply with green standards. (Note: a draft for a Renewable Portfolio Standard was submitted to the state legislature Jan 9, 2009. Florida has not yet adopted an RPS).[24][25]
  • The Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act (FEECA), passed in 1980, requires the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) to review the conservation goals of every utility producing more than 2,000 gigawatts at least every five years. An amendment to the bill in 2008 requires the FPSC to review and approve energy efficiency plans as well. Natural gas utilities are also required to provide energy efficiency plans. In 2009, the FPSC set sales reduction goals for each utility individually through 2019. Combined, those goals are to reduce sales by: 1,937 MW during peak demand in winter, 3,024 MW during peak demand in summer and 7,842 GWh annually.[26][27][28]
  • S.B. 888 (2006) established a tax credit to encourage renewable energy development and expansion. The credit expired in 2010 and was renewed in 2012 by H.B. 7117 until 2017. The credit equals one cent per kWh of electricity produced and sold during a tax year for taxpayers using "electrical, mechanical, or thermal energy produced from a method that uses one or more of the following fuels or energy sources: hydrogen, biomass, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, ocean energy, waste heat, or hydroelectric power." The program is limited to $5 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year, and $10 million each year afterwards. Taxpayers have to claim exemptions from a limited number of credits.[29]
  • HB 277 (2013) provides a property tax exemption for residential renewable energy systems, including: residential photovoltaic systems, wind energy systems, solar water heaters and geothermal heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2013. The exemption applies to assessments beginning January 1, 2014, and for equipment installed on or after January 1, 2013.[30]
  • Florida Statute 220.192 established a Biofuels Investment Tax Credit for investment in the production, storage and distribution of biodiesel, ethanol, or other renewable fuel in the state. The credit is applicable to 75 percent of costs related to capital, operation, maintenance, or research and development costs of renewable fuel. Florida can give up to $1 million annually per taxpayer and $10 million annually for all taxpayers combined. Renewable fuel is defined as a fuel produced from biomass that is used to replace or reduce conventional fuel use.[31]
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State energy policy

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Energy policy terms

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Energy use in the U.S.

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State environmental policy

Energy and Environmental News

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Energy policy ballot measures

Voting on Energy
Energy policy
Ballot Measures
By state
By year
Not on ballot
See also: Energy on the ballot and List of Florida ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked 3 ballot measures relating to state and local energy policy in Florida.

  1. Florida Electric Utilities, Amendment 6 (1974)
  2. Florida Renewable Energy Tax Exemption, Amendment 1 (October 1980)
  3. Florida Right to Produce and Sell Solar Energy Initiative (2016)

Utility policy ballot measures

See also: Local utility tax and fees on the ballot

Ballotpedia has tracked no ballot measures relating to local utility tax and fees in Florida.

Government agencies and committees

  • The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC), originally the Florida Railroad Commission, was created in 1887. It gained rate structure authority over electric utilities in 1976 and safety jurisdiction over those utilities in 1986. The commission sets utility rates, establishes utility territories and mandates utilities to provide service for those who request it. The FPSC includes five commissioners and their staffs. The governor appoints those commissioners, with consent of the Senate, from nominees selected by the Public Service Commission Nominating Council.[33]
  • The Office of Energy in Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is the primary organization for Florida's energy programs and policies. The Office of Energy's responsibilities include: administering financial incentive programs, enforcing the Florida Energy and Climate Protection Act, representing Florida in the Southern States Energy Compact, performing or coordinating federal energy programs delegated to the state and providing recommendations to the governor and the legislature.[34]

Major organizations

  • The Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC) was created in 2008 by the Florida State Government to "perform research and development on innovative energy systems that lead to alternative energy strategies, improved energy efficiencies and expanded economic development for the state." Members of the FESC are energy experts spread between 11 universities in Florida. When called upon, they research and make policy recommendations to the legislature, governor and Office of Energy.[36]
  • The Florida Conservation Coalition (FCC) brings together environmental groups from all over Florida. Altogether, 47 different conservation groups make up the coalition. The FCC works by mobilizing citizens to be involved in local events and in local political processes.[37][38]
  • The Florida Water Environment Association (FWEA) was created in 1941 under the name Florida Sewerage and Industrial Waste Association. Their current membership exceeds 1,400 clean water professionals, spread through chapters across the state. The FWEA works through education programs and conferences, professional development and advocating for water-friendly public policy.[39]

In the news

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See also

External links


  1. These figures come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration State Profiles and Energy Estimates, Florida Overview. Statistics for population and per capita income are for the year 2012; consumption and spending estimates are for 2011; and prices are for October 2013. Updated pricing information is available on the state's EIA profile. Prices will be updated on this page biannually.
  2. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Florida Overview," accessed February 14, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Florida Profile Analysis," December 18, 2013
  4. This chart depicts the state's energy consumption as reported by the EIA for 2011. Click the image to enlarge.
  5. To compare current gasoline prices in Florida to the U.S averages, go to
  6. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Petroleum Marketing Monthly," February 2014," accessed February 14, 2014
  7. Tax Foundation, "State Gasoline Tax Rates, 2009-2013," March 21, 2013," accessed February 19, 2014
  8. U.S. Energy Information Administration, “State Energy Data System, Production,” accessed February 18, 2014
  9. Duke Energy, "Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be retired; company evaluating sites for potential new gas-fueled generation," accessed March 6, 2014
  10. These figures come from the EIA State Profiles and Energy Estimates U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Florida Overview," accessed February 5, 2014
  11. Florida Public Service Commission, "2012 Statistics of the Florida Electric Utility Industry," accessed March 6, 2014
  12. Florida Public Service Commission, "Natural Gas Utilities," accessed March 6, 2014
  13. Florida Public Service Commission, "Review of Florida's Investor Owned Electric Utilities," accessed March 6, 2014
  14. Florida Public Service Commission, "2012 Statistics of the Florida Electric Utility Industry," accessed March 6, 2014
  15. Ivan Penn, The Tampa Bay Times, "President Obama's push to curb emissions leaves Florida in tough spot," accessed March 9, 2014
  16. Suns Sentinel, "Focus on Alternatives to Fossil Fuels," accessed March 9, 2014
  17. U.S. Department of Energy, "Florida Incentives/Policies for Renewables and Efficiency," accessed March 6, 2014
  18. According to a report called "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, the cost of electricity in states with RPS were on average 38 percent higher in 2010 than in states without a RPS.
  19. Institute for Energy Research, "The Status of Renewable Electricity Mandates in the States," accessed March 24, 2014
  20. Manhattan Institute, "The High Cost of Renewable-Energy Mandates," February 2012
  21. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "Florida Utility Policies," accessed March 6, 2014
  22. International Risk Governance Council, "The Rebound Effect: Implications of Consumer Behavior for Robust Energy Policies," accessed March 3, 2014
  23. Scientific American, "How Bad Is the Rebound from Energy Efficiency Efforts?," May 21, 2013, accessed March 3, 2014
  24. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, "Florida Governor Signs Energy and Climate Bill," accessed March 6, 2014
  25. American Public Power Association, "State Renewable Portfolio Standards Applicable to Public Power," accessed March 6, 2014
  26. Florida Energy industries Association, Florida Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act," accessed March 6, 2014
  27. U.S. Department of Energy, "Florida Energy Efficiency Goals," accessed March 6, 2014
  28. American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, "West Virginia Utility Policies," accessed March 6, 2014
  29. U.S. Department of Energy, "Florida Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit," accessed March 6, 2014
  30. U.S. Department of Energy, "Florida Property Tax Exclusion for Residential Renewable Energy Property," accessed March 6, 2014
  31. U.S. Department of Energy, "Biofuels Investment Tax Credit," accessed March 6, 2014
  32. Florida House of Representatives, "Energy and Utilities Subcommittee," accessed March 6, 2014
  33. Florida Public Service Commission, "Overview and Key facts," accessed March 6, 2014
  34. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, "Office of Energy," accessed March 6, 2014
  35. Florida Statutes, "20.255," accessed December 12, 2012
  36. Florida Energy Systems Consortium, "FESC Bringing Energy Solutions to Florida, the Nation and the World," accessed March 6, 2014
  37. Florida Conservation Coalition, "Our Mission," accessed March 6, 2014
  38. Florida Conservation Coalition, "News and Announcements," accessed March 6, 2014
  39. Florida Water Environment Association, "About Us," accessed March 6, 2014