If we want to drive Florida’s energy goals forward, we can’t keep looking in the rearview mirror

Dawn Shirreffs Head Shot copy
'Florida’s overreliance on a single energy source has costly consequences to families and businesses.'

Florida has grown dangerously overreliant on a single energy source, natural gas.

In fact, natural gas makes up 75% of the energy we use to power our schools, homes, businesses, and cars. With natural gas prices rising and unsteady, this overreliance has left Floridians experiencing the brunt of volatile energy markets. Diversifying our energy supply will help protect Florida’s residents and businesses from these unnecessary and unwanted costs but it is complicated process and to get there we need Florida’s lawmakers to chart a course.

Speaker Paul Renner and House Commerce Chair Bob Rommel are absolutely right to explore an energy agenda, and we appreciate the open door they have offered. While it is unlikely an economically sound and science-based plan can be created during the short 60-day Legislative Session, we are hopeful that when the dust settles on the 2024 Legislative Session, lawmakers will have, at a minimum created a task force to evaluate emerging technologies, address growing demand, and evaluate fuel, maintenance and operational costs over time. This will allow the state to take a giant step towards developing a long-term, viable plan for Florida’s energy security.

Along with my colleagues at the Environmental Defense Fund, we believe there are free market opportunities that will help diversify and stabilize energy prices for our state’s growing population.

You cannot drive a car by looking through the rearview mirror. Instead of focusing on the technologies of yesterday, Florida’s leaders must chart a course with a clear vision of attainable energy objectives focused on the facts. In addition to creation of a task force, we recommend the Legislature consider three core foundational pillars of energy diversification:

First, solar energy generation production. Solar is now 15% more cost effective than natural gas and carries no additional fuel costs. As the Sunshine state, it is imperative that we focus on harnessing this capacity to diversify from over reliance on fossil fuels.

Second, reducing waste through robust energy efficiency and grid reform. Research shows Floridians could bills could be reduced up to 47% by installing ductless heat pumps and other energy efficient components. We can leverage this opportunity to accommodate our growing demand while reducing the need to build more expensive and polluting fossil fuel power plants.

Third, allow Florida’s Office of Energy to advance residential energy efficiency programs, rebates, and contractor trainings. Funding and programs dedicated to energy efficiency are an important part of moving Florida toward positive outcomes. Eliminating waste reduces the state’s overall energy consumption, thereby reducing costs, which is a crucial aspect of addressing energy affordability for Floridians. These measures also help to address and mitigate costs in a state particularly vulnerable to summer heat and severe storms.

The state of Florida does not invest our police and teacher pensions in a single segment of the economy, especially not a volatile one. Similarly, we should diversify our energy investments to reduce risk. Our state has significant untapped potential for energy that is home grown, not imported through thousands of miles of pipelines from out of state.

Florida’s overreliance on a single energy source has costly consequences to families and businesses. Our team of scientists and economists stand ready to support efforts to create a task force, identify opportunities to diversify risk and stabilize energy prices for Florida’s growing population.

Now is the time to power Florida forward.


Dawn Shirreffs is the Florida Director of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Guest Author


  • My Take

    February 2, 2024 at 3:07 pm

    I think Turkey Point was laid out to readily accomodate a number more nuclear plants.
    That big natural gas plant at Imdiantown could eventually turn its 7000 acre (!) cooling pond to a nuclear plant as well.

  • Michael K

    February 2, 2024 at 4:06 pm

    Solar in the Sunshine State is the way to go – a no-brainer. If only we had visionary leaders who truly cared, Florida could lead the nation in solar energy. Nothing like (mostly) free energy – though Companies like Duke and FPL keep raising the rates for net metering, thanks to a compliant greedy legislature that takes massive infusions of cash in return for keeping Florida reliant on fossil fuel.

    • My Take

      February 2, 2024 at 4:58 pm

      Solar is great.
      But there are many times it is not available, some predicable sóme not.
      But use it when you can.

  • George J Kamburoff

    February 4, 2024 at 11:30 am

    Do you still pay for electricity and gasoline?
    Not us, our PV solar system has powered our household and both electric cars for eight years now.
    Why do you still pay for electricity and gasoline?

Comments are closed.


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