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State can squeeze energy use and grow

Published February 6, 2007


MIAMI - A study released Monday shows that despite Florida's population growth, the state can dramatically reduce its electricity needs by greater use of energy-efficiency technology and renewable sources.

This would make it unnecessary for the state to approve proposals by utilities to build new coal-fired power stations or nuclear facilities, according to the report by researchers at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, or ACEEE, an independent nonprofit research group in Washington.

Greater energy efficiency can reduce demand by 19 percent over the next 15 years, the report says. Renewable energy could substitute 26 percent of conventionally generated electricity. Florida consumers would save $84-billion in the process.

"While these savings will require substantial investments, they cost less than the projected cost of electricity from conventional sources," the report says.

The study, titled "Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida's Growing Energy Demands," shows that use of compact fluorescent light bulbs and Energy Star appliances can go a long way to reducing demand. Florida also has enormous potential for the production of its own domestic biofuels, as well as solar power and offshore wind turbines.

"There's no one single bullet," said Neal Elliott, Industrial Program Director at ACEEE and lead author of the report. "What you need is a broad portfolio of different options."

Elliott will be presenting the report's findings to Gov. Charlie Crist's staff as well as House and Senate energy hearings in Tallahassee this week.

[Last modified February 6, 2007, 01:32:32]

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