Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
A Florida administrative judge recommends that the state approve Tampa Electric Co.’s application to retire one of the Big Bend Generating Station’s units and repower another one with a new combined-cycle natural gas generator.
Judge Francine M. Ffolkes filed a May 30 recommended order with the state’s Division of Administrative Hearings recommending that Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet, who serve as a state siting board to determine approval of power plant projects, give Tampa Electric the green light to produce more gas at Big Bend in Hillsborough County, Fla.
Tampa Electric wants to retire unit 2, a 445.5-MW co-firing coal and natural gas unit, by 2021 and replace unit 1 with a 1,090-MW gas-fired generator slated to be in partial operations by 2021 and fully online by 2023.
“Repowered Unit 1 would utilize the cleanest fuels and the latest, most efficient technology available to generate electric power,” Ffolkes wrote in the order. “Existing infrastructure is available at the site to support operations, and there would be sophisticated controls and continuous monitoring systems providing operational safeguards and minimizing environmental impacts to the area.”
Scott Balfour, the CEO of Tampa Electric parent Emera Inc., said during the company’s May 10 conference call that the $850 million investment will reduce emissions from Big Bend by about 30% and save customers $750 million over the investment’s lifetime. He added that the upgrades will help provide backup for Emera’s Florida solar generation program, including the 20-MW Big Bend Solar (Apollo Solar) project at the site.