Polk Power Station occupies 2,837 acres on State Road 37 in Polk County, Florida. It is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Tampa and about 60 miles southwest of Orlando.
A state-of-the-art integrated coal gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant, Tampa Electric's Polk Power Station produces about 1,400 MW, which is enough electricity to serve 75,000 homes.
Polk Unit One is located on unmined land surrounded by former phosphate mining land to the east, and a berm developed as a cooling reservoir to the south. The design of the cooling reservoir maximizes plant water recycling while minimizing groundwater withdrawal and offsite discharges.
The 260-megawatt (MW) IGCC facility (220 MW net) began commercial operation in the fall of 1996. Construction on Polk Unit Two began in 1998 and Unit Three in 1999. These two 180-megawatt simple cycle combustion turbines (151 MW summer-rated net) use natural gas and distillate oil to generate electricity. Unit Two and Unit Three started commercial operation in July 2000 and May 2002 respectively. Polk Units four and five, two 160 MW units (151 MW summer-rated net) were completed in April 2007. The two new simple-cycle peaking units use natural gas to generate electricity.
In early 2017, Tampa Electric completed the conversion of four existing simple-cycle combustion turbine units into a modern and efficient combined cycle unit.
The project involved adding Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) on each combustion turbine to capture the waste heat and convert it to steam, which powers a new steam turbine generator.
The expansion added approximately 460 MW of generating capacity while increasing the efficiency of the existing units by 37 percent. Using Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, the project reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by over 75 percent from the existing units.
The 260 MW IGCC facility is among the nation's cleanest, most efficient and most economical power generation units. The plant is a first-of-its-kind combination of two leading technologies.
The first technology is called "coal gasification," which uses coal to create a clean-burning gas. The second technology is called "combined-cycle," which is the most efficient method of producing electricity commercially available today.
The plant combines coal with oxygen in the gasifier to produce the gaseous fuel. After processing, the clean coal gas is used in the combustion turbine to produce electricity.Combined-cycle technology increases efficiency because it reuses exhaust heat to produce more electricity.
Combined-cycle design consists of a combustion turbine, a heat recovery steam generator, and a steam turbine. The exhaust heat from the combustion turbine is recovered in the heat recovery steam generator to produce steam. This steam then passes through a steam turbine to produce more electricity.
A complete review of the technology in use at Polk Power Station is available in this report to the Department of Energy.
The coal gasification unit provides clean, coal-fueled power, with a minimum removal of 95 percent of the sulfur from the coal gas. This exceeds the performance of today's most advanced coal-fired generating units. Furthermore, nitrogen oxides emissions are also lower than many of today's most advanced coal-fired generating units. The sulfuric acid and solid byproducts are then sold for industry use.
The plant is considered “zero process water discharge.” A brine concentration unit, which produces an effluent that is reused in the process, handles all of the liquid waste.
The combined-cycle technology requires much less cooling water than conventional technology, and Tampa Electric was able to modify existing conventional “mine cuts” on the phosphate land to become the plant's cooling reservoir.
Award-winning innovation and a win for customers, the environment and the community: The Polk Power Station Regional Reclaimed Water Partnership is all this and more. The project prevents reclaimed water from the cities of Lakeland and Mulberry and Polk County from going into local waterways, where it would add nitrogen to the environment - harming marine life. Instead, that water now goes to Tampa Electric's Polk Power Station, which cleans it and uses it in the process of generating reliable, affordable electricity.
Watch our water treatment plant video for a closer look at how the water gets clean.
The Southwest Florida Water Management District is another key partner in the project, which won the 2015 Edison Award from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). The Edison is the highest honor bestowed by the EEI, which represents all U.S. investor-owned electric utilities.
The Polk Power Station Regional Reclaimed Water Partnership has also been honored by POWER magazine, winning the magazine's 2015 Water Award. In addition, in July 2015, the Tampa Bay Partnership awarded its Chair's Cup Award for Excellence in Regional Leadership to Tampa Electric for its role in the project.
TECO Energy's independent power subsidiary and a partner were awarded $120 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of a project using clean coal technology. As part of a cooperative agreement with the DOE, TECO Energy is also concentrating on commercialization of this IGCC technology.
Construction on Unit One began in 1994 on a site selected by a public Power Plant Siting Task Force comprised of 17 citizens from environmental groups, businesses, and universities in the Tampa Electric Company service area and throughout Florida. The objective of the Power Plant Siting Task Force was to ensure that local and statewide public issues and environmental concerns relative to new power plant development were adequately and accurately considered in selecting a suitable site for the new power plant.
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