Tampa Electric Completes Big Bend Modernization Project

Tampa Electric completed the Big Bend Modernization project safely, on time and under budget. Big Bend Unit 1 is now the most efficient generator in Tampa Electric’s fleet.

The project has repowered Big Bend Unit 1 with state-of-the-art combined-cycle technology and has eliminated coal as that unit’s fuel. Construction began in August 2019, and the project came online Dec. 16. Crews worked more than 3.5 million hours with no lost-time injuries.

The project is capable of producing 1,090 megawatts (MW), which is enough energy to power more than 250,000 homes. The company also retired Unit 2, and Unit 3 will retire in spring 2023. Unit 4 remains in operation with coal or natural gas.

"This project is improving the land, water and air emissions at Big Bend, and it is a continuation of TECO’s great environmental record," said Archie Collins, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Electric. "This investment in cleaner energy will provide significant savings to customers – and will further reduce our use of coal."

Big Bend Modernization project will save customers more than $700 million over its 30-year life.

The project is part of the company’s strategy to further reduce its carbon footprint and plays a significant role in changing the company’s fuel mix. In 1998, 90 percent of Tampa Electric’s energy was generated from coal. In 2023, more of Tampa Electric’s energy will be generated from the sun than from coal.

In 2022 alone, solar power saved customers about $80 million in fuel costs. By the end of 2025, Tampa Electric will have more than 1,600 MW of solar power – enough to power nearly 260,000 homes. With 17 percent of its energy coming from the sun at that time, TECO will have the highest percentage of solar power of any electric company in the state.

Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, serves about 830,000 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.