In early March 2024, the Florida House voted to pass a bill that will ban wind turbines offshore and on land within 1 mile of the coast and the Intracoastal Waterway to protect wildlife, prevent noise pollution, and support the tourist industry. The bill also passed the Senate and is now awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature to become law. Florida currently has no wind turbines as its warm tropical breezes and slower wind speeds are not conducive for wind energy. The bill would also revise parts of state law to remove references to climate change and greenhouse gasses and replace them with language focused on reliable and affordable energy. According to DeSantis’ office, the changes ensure “Florida’s energy policy focuses on the viability and availability of energy resources in the state, without subjecting the reliability of Florida’s grid to the pressures of the global Green New Deal regime.”

According to Florida House Speaker Paul Renner, the prohibition made sense for the state. “It’s very similar to offshore drilling: Floridians don’t want to sit on the beach and look at oil derricks and they don’t want to sit on the beach and look at big windmills right off the beach.” The House and Senate sponsors of the bill, Bobby Payne and Jay Collins, have cited a need to maintain stability in electric generation. According to Payne, “Our goal is to look out for the future of Florida and say what is cost efficient, what’s reliable. Renewables are not always reliable and what is the best for security in the state.” Opponents of the bill indicate that wind technology could improve making it a viable generator in Florida, but legislators say they could then repeal the ban should that occur.

Among other changes, the bill would ease a regulation on building natural-gas pipelines. Pipelines within Florida that are 15 miles or longer currently need certification under a law known as the Natural Gas Transmission Pipeline Siting Act. Under the bill, the requirement would apply to pipelines 100 miles or longer. The bill also allows gas storage tanks in all local commercial, industrial and manufacturing land use categories. Homeowner associations are banned from regulating energy sources in neighborhoods.

Governor DeSantis’ 0ffice and the Florida Legislature is right in looking to reliable and affordable electricity. Other states, including Texas and those in the Midwest, have embraced wind and have had blackouts and brownouts. Baseload plants cannot turn a profit operating only when needed to back up inherently intermittent renewables, so many are closing. This was a major problem for Texas’s week-long power outage in February 2021 and the eastern U.S. rolling blackouts during Christmas 2022 when Winter Storm Elliot caused a surge in electricity demand for home heating. The events during that Christmas period underscored the need for more resilient energy infrastructure and highlighted the challenges posed by extreme weather conditions when renewable energy is forced into the system.

Issues With Offshore Wind

Offshore wind projects are much more expensive than land-based ones and natural gas combined cycle technology because building and maintaining offshore wind facilities require specialized engineering due to harsh marine conditions and deep-water depths. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), offshore wind is over 3 times more expensive than onshore wind and more than double the cost of dispatchable natural gas combined cycle technology. Further, neither the costs of onshore wind nor offshore wind in EIA’s numbers capture the cost of the back-up technology needed to supply electricity when the wind does not blow, making those technologies even more expensive when added to the grid.

Due to supply chain issues and inflation spurred by Bidenomics, East Coast states have had to rebid many of their offshore wind contracts in order to up the prices paid in the power agreements between utilities and wind developers to allow for the cost increases offshore projects need to proceed. Also, because offshore wind turbines are located farther from population centers, expensive underwater cables are needed to get them connected to the electric grid onshore. And, as the Florida legislature has identified, wind turbines can alter visual aesthetics and produce noise, which may affect coastal landscapes and nearby communities.


The Florida state legislature passed an energy bill to ban wind turbines offshore and onshore near the state’s coastlines. It also supports natural gas infrastructure and removes language that deals with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, revising the language to indicate the need for reliable and affordable energy.  The bill is awaiting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature. The bill, when signed, will be the first in the nation moving back toward ensuring reliable and affordable energy. According to the Florida House speaker, the bill is needed to support utilities against pressure from the Biden administration and others who pursue “unrealistic” climate goals.

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