Time for a More Efficient Florida

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Florida uses a ton of electricity, which explains the strong market for energy efficiency products. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Florida’s per capita residential electricity demand is one of the highest in the country… due to high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months. No wonder they want to retrofit their A/C and heat pump systems so that they use less energy!

This intense use of electricity for both heating and cooling has blown electricity generation in Florida through the roof, and the state has one of the highest levels of electricity generation in the US. Since it is the fourth largest state in terms of population, it is not particularly surprising that all those people use up a lot of energy. The problem lies in how the energy is made. Florida has more petroleum-fired electricity generation than any other state. These oily power plants produced over a gigawatt-hour of electricity in 2008, which was nearly 40% of the national total for electricity generated by burning petroleum.

Burning all that oil pumps out a heck of a lot of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions… I’d love to have a number to quantify that ‘heck of a lot’, but the EIA only has national GHG emissions stats which don’t really help us here. But even without a specific number to ogle at, it seems pretty obvious that Florida’s electricity consumption and generation from oil is a teensy bit of a problem, if you consider spewing GHG emissions and other pollutants into the atmosphere a ‘problem’.

Fortunately, Floridians are not oblivious to the issue or to the opportunities therein. Most of the utility companies in the state offer comfortable financial incentives for people and businesses to become more energy efficient. Combined with the fact that greater energy efficiency means lower energy costs, concerned consumers can find a fair amount of money either on the table or left in the wallet by becoming more energy efficient.

Here’s hoping that Florida can get its energy consumption under control and go back to being known simply as the happy-go-lucky Sunshine State, rather than the Frighteningly Large Petroleum-Generated Electricity Devouring State.

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