Florida Turns to Natural Gas for Energy

According to the Department of Energy, the state of Florida is rapidly turning to natural gas to produce its energy. Between 2008 and 2018, Florida added 16 gigawatts of utility-sale natural gas-powered electric generation. The state accounts for about 24% of all U.S. natural gas installations during that specific decade and boasts natural gas gains greater than any other state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  

During that decade, electric utility net generation in Florida is believed to have grown by about 15%. Other states being commended for making substantive switches to natural gas as an electricity source include: Nevada, Kentucky, Tennessee, California, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. Additionally, natural gas use for Florida’s energy grew from 47% to 72% during that same decade, according to the federal agency. 

Florida currently boasts 50 operating utility-scale gas-fired electric generation facilities. The facilities have a total nameplate capacity of 42 gigawatts. In the meantime, as natural gas makes gains across the state, Florida has retired about 2.8 gigawatts of coal-fired energy, 5.1 gigawatts of petroleum energy, and even 3.3 gigawatts of less-efficient natural gas units. Between 2008 and 2018, the state’s natural gas-fired energy capacity additions totaled 15.7 gigawatts. Nearly all additions were natural gas combined cycle units. Florida has exhibited some of the fastest growth in the electricity sector across the country since 2007, and as of 2017 the state ranks No. 3 for electricity retail sales. 

Another number figure for Floridians to take note of is the overall net generation that’s increased about 15% between 2008 and 2018 to reach about 225,000 gigawatthours of usage. In 2018 alone, Florida grew its natural gas-fired electric generation from 92,600 gigawatthours back in 2008 to 163,300 gigawatthours in 2018 — that’s a 76% increase according to the federal agency. Some of the currently active natural gas-fired projects in Florida include the Sabol Trail pipeline that began service in 2017, the recent expansion of the Gulfstream Natural Gas System near Tampa, the Okeechobee Clean Energy Center that opened in the first quarter of 2019, and the Big Bend Power Station slated to begin service by 2021.