Florida was second only to Texas in net electricity generation, and third in the nation in electricity consumption, behind Texas and California (2015).
And most of Florida's electricity comes from from natural gas fired plants.
Energy is crucial for Florida. We need to know that the lights will come at night, that our air stays cool in the summer, and that our cars and trucks can go from point A to point B whenever we need. We need to know the power will be there when we need it, and we really don't think about where it comes from as long as it is there.
But the truth is, renewable energy accounted for 2.3 percent of the state's electrical generation in 2015, with most of that renewable being from biomass. Renewables are an important part of our energy profile, but the fact is they need to continue to be developed.
Oil and Natural gas supply about 60 percent of this country's energy needs, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates oil and natural gas to continue to provide 60% of our energy through 2040. We are going to need oil and natural gas for many more years as renewables and other sources are further developed.
So where will we get that oil and natural gas from?
Tapping Florida's homegrown resources would provide us with the opportunity to generate new jobs and new tax revenue for our state — as well as help lead the charge towards America's energy security.
Both the Atlantic and Gulf sides of Florida hold rich energy resources waves. Billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas await exploration. These are energy resources we need and resources we can access safely using modern technology.
However, to achieve these benefits, our federal and state government will need to create new policies and regulations that will allow development. For example, 98% of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico planning area is under a congressional leasing moratorium until 2022, putting nearly all of the area’s 64.5 million acres off limits to oil and natural gas development.
Why get that energy from here?
Currently the oil and natural gas industry supports 286,800 statewide jobs and adds $23 Billion to the state's economy. And while the average salary in Florida is $44,051, the average non-gas station oil and natural gas employee in Florida earns $65,806 - nearly 50% above the average.
Accessing the Eastern Gulf of Mexico's oil and natural gas could produce 230,000 new jobs and $69 Billion in cumulative government revenues by 2035.
Florida can expand energy development in a way that protects and preserves our communities, our infrastructure and our environment — while reaping the many economic benefits these resources hold.
It's good for Florida, and good for America. We should go after these energy resources and further reduce our reliance on imports from countries outside of North America.