Tampa Electric Receives Final Approval to Modernize Big Bend Power Station
Project will improve the land, air and water emissions – while saving customers money
TAMPA, July 25, 2019
Tampa Electric today received final state approval to modernize the Big Bend Power Station, reducing its reliance on coal. The company expects to begin construction in August.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Cabinet, sitting as the Power Plant Siting Board, today approved the company’s Site Certification Application to modernize Big Bend Unit 1 and to retire Unit 2.
“This project will improve the land, water and air emissions at Big Bend,” said Nancy Tower, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “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 project will repower Big Bend Unit 1 with state-of-the-art combined-cycle technology and will eliminate coal as that unit’s fuel. When complete in 2023, the project will be capable of producing 1,090 MW. The project will reuse the existing cooling system, which will continue to produce the warm water that attracts manatees to the power station’s discharge canal each winter.
This will significantly change the company’s fuel mix. In 1998, 90 percent of Tampa Electric’s energy was generated from coal. By 2018, that number dropped to 12 percent. In 2023, when the Big Bend modernization project is complete and all 600 MW of solar is installed, more of Tampa Electric’s energy will be generated from solar than from coal.
This significant project is part of the company’s strategy to further reduce its carbon footprint. That process started in 1999 with the repowering of the former coal-fired Gannon Station to natural gas, and most recently included the expansion of the Polk Power Station’s natural gas units to combined cycle.
By 2021, Tampa Electric will have 6 million solar panels in 10 new photovoltaic solar projects, making us the Florida utility with the highest percentage of solar power. Seven of those 10 projects are complete today.
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 765,000 customers in West Central Florida. Tampa Electric is a subsidiary of Emera Inc., a geographically diverse energy and services company headquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.