Tampa Electric looks for alternatives to Polk plant expansion

Tampa Electric, a unit of TECO Energy (NYSE:TE), said March 16 that it will hit the street with a solicitation for power supply agreements that would help it accommodate customer growth and replace purchased-power agreements due to expire.

The company is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) on March 23 to solicit competitive bids to address Tampa Electric’s future power needs, in accordance with Florida Public Service Commission rules. Tampa Electric is considering expanding its Polk power plant, currently the site of a petroleum coke/coal gasification unit and conventional natural gas generation, by about 460 MW. The expansion would convert the four existing simple-cycle natural gas units to more efficient combined-cycle units by January 2017.

If selected as the best and most cost-effective option out of the RFP process, the Polk conversion would capture the waste heat of the existing combustion turbines and nearly double the output of the gas-fired units without the need to purchase additional land. The project also would improve transmission reliability and dramatically reduce emissions of NOx and CO2.

“As Florida’s economy recovers from the downturn, Tampa Electric anticipates growth in energy use in coming years, and we also will need to replace other sources of power,” said Gordon Gillette, President of Tampa Electric. “We are committed to meeting our customers’ needs for safe, reliable, and cost-effective electricity.”

Using a competitive bidding process, the company will either expand Polk or purchase power from other companies – selecting the winner(s) on cost, reliability and flexibility, as well as environmental performance. Tampa Electric said it will complement its long-term conventional generation portfolio, including this generation need, with energy-efficiency and renewable energy initiatives.

The RFP will be online March 23 at www.tampaelectric.com/2017powerrfp. An RFP pre-release teleconference will be on March 21. An RFP workshop is due on April 4 to provide a more detailed review of the requirements of the RFP process. Proposals must be received by noon Eastern Time on May 22. After screenings and evaluations are complete, a short list of proposals is expected to be announced in June.

Potential bidders can obtain additional information from the website or by contacting Benjamin Smith, manager of Energy Products and Structures, Tampa Electric, P.O. Box 111, Tampa, FL 33601, or at 813-228-1373, or by email at bfsmith@tecoenergy.com.

Tampa Electric has four electric generating plants in service, with a December 2011 net winter generating capability of 4,684 MW, said TECO’s Feb. 24 annual Form 10-K report. Tampa Electric assets include the Big Bend plant (1,582 MW capacity from four coal units and 61 MW from a combustion turbine), the Bayside plant (2,083 MW capacity from two natural gas combined cycle units and four CTs), Polk (220 MW capacity from the gasification unit and 732 MW capacity from four CTs) and 6 MW from the Howard Current Advanced Waste Water Treatment Plant, operated by the city of Tampa.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.