Progress Energy Florida sees slight coal burn rebound in 2013

Progress Energy Florida is projecting an average coal price in 2013 for the scrubbed Crystal River Units 4-5 of $77.92/ton, while the average for the unscrubbed Units 1-2 at Crystal River is $118.26/ton.

These coal price projections are based on the current coal supply, transportation agreements, and forecasted deliveries, said PEF, a unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), in an Aug. 31 fuel cost filing at the Florida Public Service Commission. It assumes environmental restrictions on coal quality remain in effect as per current permits, allowing a 2.1 lbs/mmBtu SO2 limit for the unscrubbed Crystal River Units 1 and 2. Crystal River 4 and 5 have operating scrubbers which allow for consideration of higher sulfur coal, the utility noted.

The coal cost projection for Crystal River Units 1-2 starts at $111.75/ton ($4.47/mmBtu) in January 2013, rising to $122.42/ton ($4.93/mmBtu) in December 2013, with an average for the year at $118.26/ton ($4.75/mmBtu).

For Crystal River Units 4-5, the January 2013 projection is $75.45/ton ($3.22/mmBtu), rising to $78.95/ton ($3.37/mmBtu) in December of that year, with an average for the whole year of $77.92/ton ($3.32/mmBtu).

PEF is projecting a burn of 2.1 million tons of coal in the first half of next year, and a total of 4.4 million tons for the whole year. Coal-fired generation would be about 30% of PEF’s generation in 2013, with gas at about 70% and nuclear at zero. Crystal River Unit 3 is a shut, 797-MW (net) nuclear facility that new PEF parent Duke has been considering whether to re-start.

Crystal River Units 1-2, the oldest and smallest coal units at the plant, won’t run much in 2013. Here are net generating capacity, capacity factor and coal burn figures for each unit in 2013.

  • Unit 1, 376 MW, 11.4% capacity factor, 165,226 tons of coal burn;
  • Unit 2, 497 MW, 24% capacity factor, 459,548 tons of coal burn;
  • Unit 4, 727 MW, 67% capacity factor, 1.87 million tons of coal burn; and
  • Unit 5, 706 MW, 70.2% capacity factor, 1.93 million tons of coal burn.

The 4.4 million tons of projected coal burn in 2013 is a slight rebound from a projected coal burn of 4.3 million tons in 2012, but not as good as actual burns of 4.7 million tons in 2011 and 5.2 million tons in 2010.

PEF has lately been working on an air permit approval that would cover three options for the coal-fired Crystal River Units 1-2, including installation of new flue gas desulfurization (FGD) scrubbers that would extend the lives of those facilities. On July 31, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection sought public comment on a draft version of this permit that includes three options:

  • commit to cease operation as coal-fired units by Dec. 31, 2020;
  • install and operate an FGD system before Jan. 1, 2018, or within five years of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final approval of Florida’s final Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP), whichever is later, and establish emissions standards of 95% SO2 removal efficiency or 0.15 lbs/MMBtu heat input from the units as presumptive Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART); and
  • agree to a permit limit for SO2 by Jan. 1, 2018, or within five years of EPA’s final approval of Florida’s final Regional Haze SIP, whichever is later, at a level sufficient to exempt out of BART.

“If Crystal River Units 1 and 2 continue to operate as coal-fueled units beyond 2020, the company will install FGD technology,” the DEP noted.

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.