SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Millions were without power during the arctic outbreak in the south, especially Texas, this week. How do we prevent a Texas-sized energy catastrophe in Florida?
There are big differences in the way both states generate power. Natural gas is the biggest fuel in both states, 69% in Florida according to the Florida Public Service Commission, while Texas generates 47%, according to ERCOT. Both states use similar amounts of nuclear energy, and 10% to 20% respectively from coal. The big difference is in wind power. Texas generates 20% of its power from wind while Florida produces less than half a percent. The loss of wind energy was one of the big problems in Texas this week. Frozen natural gas lines were the other major problem in the state.
We are not subject to the extreme cold that hit Texas; hurricanes are the main threat to the power grid in Florida. Bill Orlove, a spokesperson for Florida Power and Light, said more than 50% of their lines are either hardened or underground. Hardened means power poles have been upgraded to withstand hurricane-force winds and vegetation has been removed near power lines. Tree damage to power lines was the main cause of power outages during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
Editor’s Note: The graphic that was initially published has been updated to reflect correct percentages.