Energy for You

Energy is all around us. It can be found in everything from powering our everyday electronics, assembling the clothes we wear, heating and cooling our homes, to fueling the vehicles we drive. The energy we use can be found in many forms—oil, coal, natural gas, wind and solar, just to name a few. 

Natural gas, specifically, is an abundant and efficient, clean burning conventional fuel that powers industries, heats homes, makes electricity and fuels transportation. It is the cleanest burning conventional fuel, producing 45 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and 30 percent less than fuel oil burned.

In North America, natural gas currently meets about one-fourth of the continent’s energy needs. Throughout the continent, this reliable energy source heats more than 76 million homes and businesses and provides for approximately 30 percent of its electricity. It even provides fuel for more than 100,000 vehicles across the nation. 

In the State of Florida, an estimated 1,300 billion cubic feet of natural gas is consumed per year, which is roughly 3.5 billion cubic feet per day. In a recent U.S. Department of Energy (“US DOE”) survey, Florida was ranked one of the top consumers of natural gas. In fact, Florida was only second to Texas in its consumption of natural gas in 2013.

In Florida, natural gas is used as a heating fuel, but it’s also used for electric generation as well. As the electric power sector shifts from petroleum and coal to natural gas, the demand for natural gas in Florida is going to increase. Natural gas shipped into Florida via the Sabal Trail Transmission pipeline will be able to help with the Florida’s demand for natural gas.

Once completed, the Sabal Trail project will be able to help increase the natural gas supply in Florida with the capability of being able to carry more than 1 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. This additional supply of natural gas will serve local distribution companies, industrial users and natural gas-fired power generators in the Southeast markets.

So, what does that mean for you? 

Natural Gas Residential Consumers

If you’re a natural gas consumer, then you are one of many Southeastern residents who use natural gas in their homes. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”), 25 percent of homes in Alabama, Georgia and Florida use natural gas as the primary home heating fuel. The Florida Energy Clearinghouse estimates that about one in 20 households in Florida use natural gas as a primary heating fuel and natural gas is being used in electric generation. 

In Georgia and Florida alone, nearly 20 percent of electricity generated is used for air conditioning to cool homes. And, another 45 percent of electricity is used for powering appliances and electronics within the home.

On average, each residential Florida home uses about 1,000 kWh per month and with an estimated 8.5 million electric customers, Florida residents use about 110 billion kWh of electricity per year! This amount of energy is the equivalent of almost two Sabal Trail Transmission pipelines per year.

Natural Gas Non-Residential Consumers

You may be thinking, I’m not a natural gas residential customer, so I do not reap the benefits of having natural gas in my community. Well…that’s not exactly true. Natural gas is used in many other places outside of residential homes and communities. As a matter of fact, many commercial buildings use natural gas because it is safe and efficient. This clean burning conventional fuel provides energy for manufacturing, raw materials for products, such as plastics, computers, pharmaceuticals and clothes. So, just because you do not use natural gas in your home, the benefits of natural gas are still felt all around you within your community.

Various industries in the U.S. are recognizing the benefits of natural gas. It has been reported that American businesses plan to invest close to $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas.

Hospitals in the U.S. spend an average of $1.67 on electricity and 48 cents on natural gas per square foot (ft2) annually. In 2012, twelve hospitals alone saved $14.5 million. As hospitals using natural gas continues to climb above 51 percent, the savings in the health industry can then lead to potential savings for you.

Natural gas is used in approximately 78 percent of restaurants. Restaurants can provide a reduced cooking time, lower maintenance costs and instant temperature control that are easily regulated. This then provides you faster service with wallet friendly prices.

Various types of transportation – railway, water, air and agricultural – are also using natural gas as a motor fuel for vehicles. These are other industries that realize natural gas is predictable, dependable and easy to use.

Natural Gas Means Jobs

It is anticipated that by 2025, 3.8 million new jobs will be either directly or indirectly related to natural gas. These jobs will be factory jobs or jobs associated with companies that produce recyclable plastics, rubber, electrical equipment and computers.

Capitalizing on the abundant natural gas supply now available, natural gas is becoming the fuel of choice for manufacturing facilities. Most manufacturing facilities require large amounts of energy. Because of issues with availability and price, natural gas has not been a viable fuel source. With the price for natural gas now competitive with other fuels, manufacturers are looking to natural gas to meet their fuel needs. The Sabal Trail project will provide another reliable supply of clean burning natural gas for manufacturers – and more manufacturing means more manufacturing jobs.

Need for Natural Gas and the EPA

As the number of homes and businesses that use natural gas as a primary heating fuel increases and the electric power generators move toward using natural gas as a source, additional natural gas supply for the Southeastern states will be needed.

In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a regulation which would lower carbon dioxide (produced by coal-fired plants) emission up to 30 percent by 2030. Under the EPA draft rule, the EPA would allow states and utilities to meet the new standard in various ways. One way to meet the proposed regulations is by shifting usage of coal to natural gas.

Forty-seven states already have energy efficiency programs. The new emissions proposal is a necessary step in creating a cleaner environment, while providing for greater implementation of greener alternatives for our energy needs.

As the number of homes and businesses that use natural gas as a primary heating fuel increases and the electric power generators move toward using natural gas a source, additional natural gas supply for the Southeastern states will be needed.