The Sunshine Economy: Energy

Aug 12, 2013

Credit Tom Hudson

Flip a light switch, turn the ignition key or hit the start button.  These are actions most of us do several times each day without thinking about where the power is coming from. Florida may have plenty of sunshine but it doesn't have any substantial supply of fossil fuels.  And fossil fuels still power much of our lives.

The next Sunshine Economy focuses on our energy business. Powering Paradise: Energy in South Florida will examine the growing appetite for natural gas. Big supplies of U.S. natural gas thanks to new drilling techniques have driven down prices. Electric utilities increasingly are shifting to natural gas to power turbines to generate electricity.

We will talk with FPL President Eric Silagy about the shift, its impact on prices and FPL's efforts in renewable energy.

RELATED: The Sunshine Economy: Tearing Down An Old Power Plant

Despite being the Sunshine State, Florida is only third in the nation among power generated by solar energy.

This demand for natural gas has spurred the effort to build more pipelines to carry the gas throughout the state. Miami Herald's Gina Jordan will report from Tallahassee on the reaction from environmentalists and how the state regulates these pipelines.

Join host Tom Hudson every Monday at 9:00 a.m. for WLRN's ongoing series, The Sunshine Economy, a weekly look at the key industries transforming South Florida into a regional powerhouse.
Credit WLRN

The move toward natural gas is driven in part by price.  Natural gas is half the price it was just five years ago. Phil Flynn is a veteran of many energy market booms and busts as senior markets analyst at the Price Futures Group. He thinks while nat gas prices will be volatile, it makes sense for utilities to turn to this source.

Meantime, demand for gasoline in Florida is among the highest in the nation. We visit a Mobil gasoline station on South US1 that has been in the same family since 1961 to hear about business at the pump.  

Could our car culture ever evolve to embrace electric cars?  WLRN's Linda Gassenheimer has been driving an electric car for more than two years. We go on a short drive with her to hear how it is to drive by the gas station and plug in at night.