Florida’s Electrical Power Grid Term Paper

Florida Electrical Power Grid

Florida’s Electrical Power Grid

Electrical power is the most reliable and available source of power used worldwide. It is produced from two broad categories of energy resources, renewable and non-renewable sources. Non-renewable sources are fossils fuels and nuclear fuel while renewable sources include wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power. For the production of electricity, these sources undergo a series of energy transformations (Kirkland, 2007, pg 56).

Source of energy


Energy transformations

Hydroelectric power


Potential energy? kinetic energy? mechanical energy? electric energy



Chemical energy? heat energy? kinetic energy? electric energy



Potential energy? electric energy



Potential energy? Kinetic energy? mechanical energy? electric energy

Table 1. Energy transformations in the production of electricity

This context primarily focuses on the generation, transmission, distribution and utilization of electricity in Florida.

Sources of power in Florida

Energy economy in Florida is mainly derived from the electric energy. It contributes to the development of the entire state. The fuel sources in relation to electricity generation in Florida from non-renewable sources is coal, natural gas and nuclear while renewable sources include hydroelectric and petroleum. Natural gases contribute to over half of the total percentage of electric generation in Florida having a share of 54.2%. The gases, in liquid state, are delivered and supplied in the states’ power plants through pipeline channels.

Coal is the second most popular as it has the higher percentage use when it comes to electricity generation in Florida. Florida State has no account that relates to coal mining but coal industry has recently been powerful. The coal used in this state is imported from Illinois, West Virginia and Kentucky. In the year 2005, Florida had amounted to 30 coal stations that generate electricity. This was 18.8% share of the total electric engendering capacity. In March 2010, the use of coal as a source of generating electricity rose to 30%, this being as a result of increase in demand of electricity in the state. Currently, the use coal’s utility in generating electricity has reduced to 24.9% due to the supremacy and availability of natural gases as Florida has a considerable oil as well as natural gas stores offshore (I.E.R, 2009).

Major power plants and substations

Power plants are electricity generating facilities. Florida has quite a number of power plants across the state whereby each produces a substantial amount of megawatts of electric energy consumed. There are five leading companies that have established different power plants across the state. They are JEA, NextEra Energy Resources, Inc., TECO Energy, Progress Energy and Florida Power & Lighting Company. NextEra Company has and operates five main nuclear power plants and three solar power plants in Florida. Florida Power and Lighting Company comprise other plants throughout the state and apparently one found in Georgia (F.E.A, 1994, pg 325).

A power substation is a subsidiary of a power plant. The relevance of substations is the reduction of voltage transmitted from the power plant to lower levels appropriate for local use. There are a number of completed substations in Florida’s grid system. Some of the substations are FPL substation in Melbourne, Kissimmee Electric, Firehouse in Miami, Eden in Jensen Beach, and Ryder in Palm Beach Gardens among others (F.E.A, 1994, pg 325).

Components of power plants and substations

Electrical power stations are of different varieties. The power plants require stabilized components in order to produce and distribute the power in a reliable way. These components are the main equipments that form and make necessary energy transformations in electricity production.

A crucial component found in a power station is the boiling unit, regardless of the source of energy. Depending on the initial source used, the boiler unit is either used to superheat water, incinerate waste, combust fossils fuels or split nuclei. The end product of these reactions in the boiling unit is the production of heat energy that helps to run machinery such as turbines that in turn produce electric energy. Another main component is the generator. It possesses mechanical and electromagnetic energy. The combinations of these two forms of energy turn the generator’s blades, which consequently, turn the generator’s coils of wire across magnets. Rotational movements of the magnetic coils eventually generate the electric power. Another component in power plants is the cooling system. The fossil plants in Florida require a cooling system such as large disseminating water pumps; they provide the condenser with cooling water and large funs that enhance water circulation in the boiler. The nuclear plants also use the same mechanism to cool their condensers. Power plants also have a hefty battery banks that provide support power in controlling the plant components. The plants also consist of a large charger that charges the back up batteries (Castleberry, 2008, pg 3).

Unlike the power stations, substations have more components due to its role in the regulation of power distribution, control of power surges, ac to dc conversions and vice versa and stepping up and down of voltages. The electric components that achieve these functions are lightning arresters, switches, distribution buses, circuit breakers, current and power transformers, isolators, conductor systems, insulations, overhead line terminations and bushings.

Power generation, transmission and distribution in Florida

The generation of electrical power in Florida is indirectly proportional to its demand. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that there is a well-organized allotment of electricity in the power grid to address the energy gap. The state has also made the power affordable to its consumers in order to maintain the state’s healthy economy.

Power generation in Florida is substantially from vast sources and counts as 16% of the national’s production. It is mainly generated from fossil fuels as compared to other states. Florida also has an organized waste collection that is used to generate a little production that contributes to the state’s generation. A lot of companies have invested and planned power generation across Florida, making it a fast growing state in terms of economy (I.E.R, 2009).

The transmission of power is through an elaborate grid system that runs from the major power plants to the substations and eventually to the consumers. However, in Florida, the transmission sector of electricity has encountered mishaps that energy companies need to streamline for efficient power transmission. A lot of blackouts have been experienced due to the deregulation of electricity infrastructure. Transmission equipments are below the standards, making it expensive to survive the blackouts. Underground transmission cables, fault current limiters, transformers, motors, SMES and generators are the few introductions to be induced in providing efficient electricity power transmission in Florida (Lynch & Schwartz, 2003, pg 9).

The level of consumption in Florida is high especially in families due to the electric appliances, followed by commercial and industrial sectors. The state has had a projected growth since the consumption rate has recently increased by 3.6%. Statistics show that the incorporation of transmission infrastructure will further increase the consumption by 43% by 2030.

Comparison of power plants

A basic comparison to all power plants efficiency in Florida is that they produce electric energy. Power plants and their subsequent companies across Florida have had a significant role in ascertaining that the environs are cared for by the generators and consumers of the power. The electricity companies have raised awareness though education on the importance of grading the environs. Some plants have come up with ways of recycling, reusing and refurbishing the wastes produce in electric energy production. The machinery used in the power plants is almost similar since they all have major components despite the resources of energy used.

Contrast of power plants

Power plants mainly differ in the efficiency of the sources of power used in electricity production. As discussed earlier, some use renewable sources while others utilize non-renewable sources. Some of the power plants across Florida emit large quantities of Carbon dioxide gas in the electricity production. This is mainly done by the plants using non-renewable sources of energy. The plants also differ in the competency of the amount of watts produced. Due to the extent of sources used, some plants produce enormous amounts than others. A good example is the nuclear plant at Crystal River; it contributes to 15% watt production compared to the solar plant at Indiantown that contributes to 3% of power production.

Research methodology

The data collected through this research is concrete. Statistical information has been extracted from vital databases such as the Bureau of Economic Analysis, SEDS Database and the Institute of Energy research. Though the information is rightfully available, it is not possible to create Florida’s electric power network due to poor infrastructure on the transmission network and the availability of many plants and substations.


Castleberry, G.W. (2008). Power Plant Electrical Distribution Systems. An Approved Continuing Education Provider.

Federal Energy Administration (F.E.A). (1994). Inventory of Power Plants in the United States. New York: DIANE Publishing.

Institute of Energy Research. (2009). Real GDP per Capita 2008: Bureau of Economic Analysis. News Release: GDP by State.

Kirkland, K. (2007). Electricity and Magnetism. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Lynch, T. & Schwartz, J. (2003). Potential Economic Benefits of Configuring Superconducting Technologies in the Florida Grid. Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS). Pg 1-22.

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