Study Finds Florida Could Benefit from Energy Efficiency Strategies
A new study finds that Florida could save $28 billion — enough to cover this year's entire education and transportation budgets — by using energy efficiency strategies that are presently available.
The report, Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida's Growing Energy Demands, was recently released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
The study finds that using energy efficiency policies alone (such as efficient windows, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and Energy Star appliances) can nearly offset the state's entire future growth in electric demand by the year 2023. Specifically, the study found that energy efficiency measures could cut demand by 19.9 percent, and using renewable energy sources could cut demand by 9.5 percent by 2023.
Florida would also create more than 14,000 jobs in 2023. The direct and indirect jobs created would be equivalent to nearly 100 new manufacturing plants relocating to Florida, but without the demand for infrastructure and other energy needs, the study says.
If Florida both expanded its energy efficiency measures and invested in renewable energy sources like biomass and solar, the state could cut electricity demand by nearly a third in the year 2023 — without building expensive and environmentally risky new power plants or relying on conventional power sources such as natural gas, coal, oil, or nuclear power, according to the study.
The five key policies that the ACEEE study recommends are:
- An energy efficiency resource standard that sets savings targets for utilities, such as Texas and several other states have done;
- More stringent building energy codes that make Florida's buildings much more efficient in the future;
- An advanced buildings program that changes building practices, reducing energy demand;
- Onsite renewables policies that help meet much of these advanced buildings' energy demand with solar energy; and
- A renewable portfolio standard that sets a target for utilities to procure a share of their power from renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, which more than 20 other states have done.