Combined Cycle, Gas, Gas Turbines, New Projects, O&M

Sunshine state utilities prefer gas-fired power for new capacity

(Citrus County CCGT Plant. Courtesy Duke Energy Florida)

Florida is known as the Sunshine State and rightly so.

When it comes to electricity, though, its utilities are clearly choosing natural gas-fired generation far above any other resource, including solar, according to a new report released Monday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Florida has added nearly 16 GW of utility-scale gas-fired electric generation in the period from 2008 to 2018. These installations accounted for almost one-quarter of all added U.S. gas-fired capacity during those 10  years, according to the EIA.

These new gas-fired plants have more than replaced the 12.1 GW in retirements from oil, coal, older natural gas and other resources in the state, the EIA data shows. Nearly all of Florida’s new gas-fired plants are combined-cycle units.

The utilities there have retired 2.8 GW of coal-fired and 5.1 GW of petroleum liquids-fired generation units, the federal agency reported. Florida’s electricity sales have grown at the fastest pace of any state since 2007, according to the EIA.

More data: the state’s gas-fired electric utility net generation grew from 92,600 GWh in 2008 to 163,300 GWh a decade later. Other EIA reporting indicates that pipeline capacity has increased to keep pace, rising from 4.1 billion cubic feet per day to 6.2 Bcf/d in 2018, a 50-percent rise.

The Sabal Trail Pipeline, which was entered into service two years ago, delivers power plants owned by Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy-Florida.

Late last year, Duke Energy commissioned its new 1,640-MW Citrus County gas-fired plant into operation. Completion of Citrus County allowed Duke to retire two of its coal-fired units at the Crystal River plant.

FP&L commissioned its $1.2 billion CCGT Port Everglades Next Generation Clean Energy Center in 2016, part of an overall company movement to build three major gas-fired plants.

During the same 10 years, Florida has added about 2 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity, less than 20 percent of all added electricity generation, according to various reports. Most of that solar capacity has been added in the past few years.

(Rod Walton is content director for Power Engineering and POWERGEN International. He can be reached at 918-831-9177 and [email protected])

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Gas-fired Turbines and Plants is one of the Summit tracks offering insightful content from industry experts at POWERGEN International, happening Nov. 19-21 in New Orleans. The Knowledge Hubs on the POWERGEN exhibition floor also will include stages devoted to Natural Gas and the Future of Conventional Power. Registration is open and discounts are available for power generators.