Enhanced power reliability
The installation in 2009 of a new 60-megawatt natural gas- and fuel oil-fired peaking unit at Big Bend supports Tampa Electric's commitment to reliable power for its customers. In addition to being able to provide power during periods of peak customer demand, the peaking unit also can play a vital role if catastrophic weather causes the electric grid to lose power. With "black start" capability, power from the peaking unit can start the Big Bend's larger generating units in a blackout when power from the grid is not available. The units' "quick start" capability enables the company to bring them from off-line to full load status in 10 minutes, which provides a more economical way for the company to maintain operating reserves required to respond to system disruptions. Read more about the new peaking unit, part of a project that includes four additional peaking units at H.L. Culbreath Bayside Power Station in Tampa.
During the scrubbing process, coal combustion gases are sprayed with a mixture of water and limestone. Sulfur oxides react with the spray to form gypsum. Tampa Electric recycles virtually all of its gypsum.
Gypsum is used locally in wallboard (drywall) for construction, in cement and concrete for construction and in agriculture as a soil nutrient or fertilizer
Fly ash, a fine particulate material that results from the combustion of coal and is collected in the electrostatic precipitators in all four Big Bend Units, is used in the cement and concrete industries.
Slag, which is collected at the bottom of the furnace, is a hard, glass-like material with many reuses, including in cement. Its hard quality makes it valuable to use as a high-velocity blast material to clean ships, storage tanks and other large metal surfaces.