Tampa Electric adding combined-cycle unit at Polk

Tampa Electric will expand the Polk Power Station to meet the company’s power needs for 2017 by adding a new combined-cycle unit at the site and converting an existing one.

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy (NYSE: TE), an energy-related holding company with regulated utility operations in Florida.

The company plans to add 460 MW of combined cycle natural gas generation. The site already has four existing simple-cycle gas units totaling 680 MW. Those units would be converted to a more efficient combined-cycle unit by January 2017. The four units were commissioned between 1999 and 2007.

The Polk complex is also home to a 260-MW integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power unit commissioned in 1996.

When completed, the Polk Power Station will have 1,140 MW of combined-cycle natural gas generation. At the peak of construction, the project would create about 500 local jobs.

Tampa Electric needs to replace expiring power-purchase agreements and it also anticipates some load growth over the next five years.

“After reviewing several competitive bids, Tampa Electric determined that the self-build option is the best and most cost-effective way to address those needs,” the company said in a statement.

“Expanding the Polk Power Station provides the best value to customers based on cost, reliability and flexibility, as well as environmental performance,” said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. “We are committed to meeting our customers’ needs for safe, reliable, and cost-effective electricity.”

In coming weeks, the company will file a Petition of Need with the Florida Public Service Commission and a Site Certification Application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The project would capture the waste heat of the existing combustion turbines and increase the output of the gas-fired units by 70% without the need to purchase additional land. The project also would improve transmission reliability and dramatically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide of the company’s system.