Energy Efficiency Policies, Initiatives and Predictions: Florida

As of 2014, approximately half of U.S. states have enacted enforceable, long-term Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS). According to the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE), these states represent over 60% of the U.S. energy consumption. If maintained through 2020, their efforts are expected to save more than 240,000 GWh.

Among the remaining states, most have established at least partial policies and initiatives, either at state or local levels, aimed at reducing overall energy reduction. More are expected to adopt statewide standards in the wake of NY’s REV 2.0 initiative.

Florida is among those without a fully funded EERS, though the state’s commission has expressed a commitment to improving energy efficiency. Currently, Florida’s primary focus is on establishing gains within government and municipal organizations. At the local level, many utilities also offer energy efficiency incentives that apply to small business.

Florida At a Glance

Statewide EERS: No.

Primary Energy Sources: 62% natural gas; 21% coal; 12% nuclear; 5% other [Source]

Energy Efficiency Approach: “Leading by example.†Requirements focus on establishing energy efficiency gains within state and municipal government buildings and agencies. No statewide incentives are offered for residential or commercial organizations. [Source]

Municipalities with Local Initiatives: Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, plus several smaller municipalities offer incentives for residential and small business efficiency improvements.

Florida Overview

Florida is second only to Texas in electricity sales nationwide, due to air conditioning use in summer and higher than average use of electricity for heating (versus natural gas and other resources). Electricity accounts for 90% of Florida’s energy consumption with average per capita expenditures 40% higher than the national average.

Thanks to its latitude and generally sunny climate, Florida also ranks high on solar generation, representing 2.2% of total electric production. Natural gas accounts for 62%, coal for 21%, and nuclear for 12%. The remainder is produced by other renewable resources.

In November 2014, Florida regulators came under fire for reducing energy efficiency goals by 90% and ending rebates to homeowners for installing solar panels. These changes will roll out through 2015.

At the same time, Florida has demonstrated a significant commitment to energy efficiency within government buildings and agencies. Since 2006, the Florida Energy Plan has called for all new state buildings to meet LEED standards, and for agencies to track and measure energy use.

Simultaneously, businesses in Florida demand energy efficient options. In 2014, Great Bay Distributors announced plans for a 267,787 square foot headquarters that will generate 40% of its own power needs via a 1.5 MW solar panel system. These plans represent a growing trend across the state of private entities taking energy generation into their own hands.

Local and Regional Programs

So far the state has declined to institute EERS or to offer initiatives for energy efficiency on a statewide basis; however, many local and regional utilities have stepped up to encourage energy efficiency within their own borders.

A few examples of local programs:

  • The City of Longwood offers rebates for building insulation, windows, roofs, tankless water heaters, HVAC upgrades, and window film installations.
  • The City of Winter Park offers rebates for lighting, lighting controls, chillers, heat pumps, compressed air, duct and air sealing, building insulation, and windows.
  • The County of Miami-Dade offers expedited buildings process for Green buildings.
  • The County of St. Lucie offers loans for central air conditioning, caulking and weather-stripping, building insulation, and windows.

Click here for a full list of local and county energy efficiency initiatives for Florida. 

2015 and Beyond

Energy experts in Florida predict that the state will continue to see an uptick in private solar-generated power systems, despite the removal of solar rebates for homeowners by the end of 2015.

Additionally, pressure from environmental groups, the public, and other states is likely to drive state regulators to increase requirements and add strength to existing regulations.

Regardless of the regulatory environment, the continuing trend toward market options, such as solar and private generation facilities, will force utilities to meet the market’s demand for energy efficiency and distributed systems.

Additional Resources

For more information about energy efficiency trends and initiatives in Florida, bookmark these valuable resources:

 

 

 

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