Florida state leaders approved Tampa Electric Co.’s plan to convert one of Big Bend Power Station units from coal to gas-fired generation.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of his cabinet, sitting as the Power Plant Siting Board, signed off on Tampa Electric’s application to modernize Big Bend Unit 1 and retire Unit 2 by 2023. The two coal-fired units have been operating for nearly 50 years.
Under the plan, unit 1 will be repowered with gas-fired combined-cycle technology. The gas-fired unit would have 1,090 MW of generating capacity once completed in 2023.
“This project will improve the land, water and air emissions at Big Bend,” Tampa Electric CEO Nancy Tower said. “This project will save our customers money, and, coupled with our significant increase in solar power, will make Tampa Electric substantially cleaner and greener than it is today.”
The utility, which provides electricity to about 765,000 customers in west central Florida, also plans to have six million solar panels installed at 10 sites by 2023. All but three of those solar projects are already completed.
Big Bend Power Station has been generating coal-fired power since Unit 1 went into service in 1970 and Unit 2 was commissioned three years later. Tampa Electric added scrubbing technology to units 3 and 4 in 1984 and 1995, respectively.
A 60-MW gas and fuel oil-fired peaking unit was installed in 2009. Over a 20 year-period, the utility dropped the coal-fired portion of its generation capacity from 90 to 12 percent last year.
In 1999, Tampa Electric repowered its formerly coal-burning Gannon Station to natural gas. It also recently expanded the Polk Power Station’s natural gas units to combined cycle operation.
(Rod Walton can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected])
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Gas-fired Turbines and Plants and Optimizing Plant Performance are two of the Summit content tracks being offered at POWERGEN International happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. Registration is open.