Company will invest in more solar power, new technologies and will keep price and reliability at forefront
In keeping with Tampa Electric’s strong history of environmental stewardship, the company today announced its vision to achieve net-zero carbon emissions from its power plants by 2050.
Tampa Electric also announced a series of interim goals that it will target on the journey to a cleaner energy future:
• By 2025, the company aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 60 percent below 2000 levels.
• By 2040, the company aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent below 2000 levels.
Since the year 2000, Tampa Electric has reduced coal usage by more than 90 percent. And over that same period, Tampa Electric has cut carbon dioxide emissions in half – even while the demand for power has increased 25 percent. The company has also kept bills well under the national average while it increased reliability. Tampa Electric has become the leading producer of solar energy per customer in the state. So far, the company has installed more than 650 megawatts (MW) of solar, which generates enough energy to power 100,000 homes, and is currently constructing another 600 megawatts. By the end of 2023, Tampa Electric will be generating enough solar energy to power 200,000 homes.
“Tampa Electric has a long legacy of environmental leadership, and now we’re taking it even further,” said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. “Achieving this vision will require partnership – with our customers, the electric industry and stakeholders – to improve the planet for our children and their children. We are taking a thoughtful approach, and we commit to keep affordability and reliability at the forefront of every decision along this path.”
This commitment aligns Tampa Electric with its parent company, Emera Inc., which announced a corporatewide vision for net zero by 2050. The company also joins more than two dozen investor-owned electric utilities in the U.S. that have announced intentions of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Tampa Electric’s Plans for a Net-Zero Carbon Future
Reaching the net-zero vision by 2050 will take tremendous innovation and focus in several areas, including:
Increasing the use of zero/low-carbon technologies used today. Tampa Electric has been actively investing in renewable solar energy, and that clean source will soon account for 14 percent of overall energy production. The company is committed to strategically expanding renewable capabilities, at a pace that is affordable for customers.
Investing in emerging solutions that help generate more clean energy, and supporting innovation to reduce carbon. Emerging technologies will play a pivotal role to help Tampa Electric achieve its net-zero vision. Innovations in both existing and new technologies, including carbon capture, biofuels, hydrogen and battery storage, may be components of its future energy portfolio. The company is also piloting new concepts like a plug-and-play microgrid system that delivers resilient, renewable energy at the community level. Tampa Electric is leveraging its strong partnership with the University of South Florida to further research innovative technologies and new ideas to help achieve the net-zero vision. As one of the nation’s leading research universities, USF has a talented pool of faculty and students who can share their expertise across a wide range of disciplines to help develop cutting-edge solutions. By enhancing the collaboration between Tampa Electric and USF, both organizations can maximize their community impact.
Improving existing power stations. Transformative change at Tampa Electric’s power stations has been happening for years. The company will continue to introduce new technology into its generating fleet to better accommodate a future with zero or low-carbon fuels. Although the company is still researching the possibilities, it plans to make necessary modifications to keep existing equipment viable.
In the short term, the company will continue projects to transition power stations away from coal. Big Bend’s Unit 1 is being repowered and Big Bend Unit 2 retires next month as part of the Big Bend Modernization project. When complete in late 2022, Unit 1 will be a state-of-the-art, highly efficient, combined-cycle natural gas unit, capable of producing 1,090 megawatts of electricity. Modernizing power plants improves fuel generation efficiency, which lowers fuel costs for customers and lowers emissions.
Big Bend Unit 3 will retire in April 2023, which is 18 years early. It began operating as a coal unit in 1976; natural gas was added as a secondary fuel several years ago. The company accelerated its retirement to reduce carbon emissions and to save customers money.
Modernizing the electric grid. Tampa Electric is already adopting new technologies to bring more intelligence and efficiencies to both integrate more distributed generation sources and deliver energy to our customers. Smart lighting solutions, like LED streetlights, result in less carbon emissions and last longer than traditional bulbs — improving safety and air quality for our communities. Also, implementing technologies, such as smart meters, allows for remote access to start or stop service without the need for sending a truck, which saves fuel use and vehicle emissions.
Partnering with customers and the community. Tampa Electric is closely connected to community, state and national leaders and organizations, working in tandem to understand priorities and concerns as they move toward a cleaner energy future. Customers will also play a vital role, by reducing their energy use through the company’s energy-efficiency programs and solar solutions. As the company proceeds forward with new projects and programs to reach its goals, it will work with regulators and stakeholders to align priorities as well as keep the public informed.
For more information on the company’s approach to prioritizing the environment and taking climate action, visit Tampa Electric’s Net-Zero Vision page at www.teconetzero.com.
Community and energy industry leaders expressed their support for Tampa Electric’s 2050 vision:
“There is no more important partner than TECO in the City of Tampa’s commitment to a greener, more sustainable community. Today, the City of Tampa, TECO and the University of South Florida are taking a big step on the path to cleaner energy. We plan to continue finding unique partnership opportunities and invest city resources to advance in clean energy technology and climate-ready infrastructure.” – Tampa Mayor Jane Castor
“As one of the nation’s leading research institutions, the University of South Florida has a talented pool of faculty and students who are developing innovative solutions for the complex challenges facing our communities. With our leading expertise in business, engineering, sustainability and other disciplines, USF is well positioned to partner with Tampa Electric in support of a vision to create a cleaner energy future.” – USF Interim President Rhea Law
"Tampa Electric and EEI's other member electric companies are leading a clean energy transformation. As an industry, we are working to get the energy we provide as clean as we can as fast as we can, while maintaining the reliability and affordability that are essential to the customers and communities we serve. We understand the vital role that reliable, affordable, secure and resilient clean energy plays in achieving net-zero emissions across the U.S economy, and I commend Tampa Electric for your announcement and your ongoing commitment to deliver a clean energy future.” – Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn
“Florida utility Tampa Electric (TECO) announced a bold 2050 commitment that further demonstrates how clean resources are market-competitive energy solutions for customers. It’s important to utilize all clean energy sources to reach their vision, and we are excited to help accelerate innovation policies that will help to create the new technologies needed to achieve their goal.” – ClearPath Executive Director Rich Powell
About Tampa Electric
Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 800,000 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.