Florida Power & Light argues schedule issues in gas plant case

Florida Power & Light told the Florida Public Service Commission that its request to add new gas-fired capacity at two power plants should not be moved into a separate, more protracted review docket, but it is willing to give intervenors more time in the current docket.

FPL applied for approval of these projects within an annual environmental cost review docket that normally involves costs for add-on emissions controls for power plants. It said it needs to shut down capacity at three plants and add capacity at two of those plants for NO2 air emissions compliance, so this is the proper docket for this case.

DeSoto County Generating Co. LLC, which wants to sell FPL power from its existing gas-fired power plant, or the plant itself, and the state Office of Public Counsel (OPC) have intervened in this case. Also, the Florida Industrial Power Users Group (FIPUG) has asked for this matter to be separated into its own docket, which would potentially involve a longer review process.

On June 28, FPL had filed a petition for approval of environmental cost recovery associated with its NO2 compliance project. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a tough new 1-hour human health-based standard for NO2 emissions.

FPL said it became aware that the peaker gas turbines located at its Ft. Myers, Lauderdale and Port Everglades power plants will cause or contribute to emission concentrations in excess of the 1-hour NO2 standard. FPL proposes to modify the existing peaking unit technology with the installation of high-efficiency, low-emitting combustion turbines at two of those plants, while shutting capacity at the third. FPL’s evaluations show that this is the lowest cost option to meet the NO2 standard.

DeSoto and OPC are jointly seeking leave to file surrebuttal to address economic evaluations presented in FPL’s recent rebuttal of their initial testimony. DeSoto and OPC have asked the commission to establish Oct. 21 as the deadline to file surrebuttal. Also, FIPUG has requested that FPL’s petition be spun off into a separate docket.

“FIPUG’s request for a spinoff should be denied,” the utility said on Oct. 10. “A separate docket and protracted testimony schedule are unnecessary to address the Intervenors’ concerns, and may instead cause delays and inefficiencies. Moreover, leave to file surrebuttal testimony should not be granted unless such testimony is strictly limited to addressing the additional economic evaluations presented in FPL witness [Juan] Enjamio’s rebuttal testimony and appropriate provisions are made for FPL discovery regarding the surrebuttal testimony.”

FPL proposes a less “disruptive process” that will accommodate the intervenors’ asserted need for additional information and time to prepare for hearing. FPL has conferred with the intervenors about a compromise proposal and understands that they support it. FPL proposes that the hearing remain in the current docket and remain subject to the schedule set for that docket, with limited exceptions. FPL does not object to the hearing on the NO2 Compliance Project being deferred so long as it is scheduled to conclude no later than Nov. 27. FPL and the intervenors prefer the week of Nov. 18-22.

FPL said it does not object to surrebuttal testimony if it is subject to the following conditions:

  • The surrebuttal testimony may address only FPL’s new economic evaluations that are reflected in FPL witness Enjamio’s rebuttal testimony, which compare available compliance alternatives including buying the DeSoto facility or purchasing power from it.
  • Surrebuttal testimony must be filed no later than Oct. 21 and shall be served on FPL electronically at the same time that it is filed.
  • Because the proposed filing date will occur after the prehearing conference, FPL reserves the right to revise its position on certain ssues after the prehearing conference as required to address the surrebuttal testimony.
  • Solely with respect to FPL discovery addressing the surrebuttal testimony, FPL proposes that the discovery deadline be extended to Nov. 15, with responses required to be served electronically within seven days after the discovery requests are received.

DeSoto has said it may need to shut its plant if it can’t do a deal with FPL

DeSoto County Generating, an affiliate of LS Power Development, told the Florida PSC on Sept. 13 that it can supply gas-fired peaking power to FPL at a cheaper cost than FPL’s proposed repowering projects. According to FPL’s petition, it plans to add 1,608 MW of combustion turbine (CT) peaking capacity at a cost of about $822m, including transmission and integration costs, DeSoto noted. “Based on its knowledge of the Florida bulk power supply system and Florida wholesale power markets, DeSoto believes that FPL can acquire additional peaking capacity at costs significantly less than those proposed by FPL,” the company said.

FPL has 48 old peaking gas turbines (GTs) in total among three sites: Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades and Fort Myers. 

  • For Fort Lauderdale, this project would result in the retirement of 24 of its 35-MW GTs with a combined summer peak capacity of 840 MW and installation of five CTs with a combined summer rating of 1,005 MW.
  • For Fort Myers, the project would result in the retirement of 12 of its 54-MW GTs with a combined summer rating of 648 MW and installation of three CTs with a combined summer peak capacity of 603 MW.
  • For Port Everglades, the project would result in the retirement of 12 of its 35-MW GTs with a combined summer rating of 420 MW, with no capacity added at this site.

FPL has countered that there are two major factors that it needs for replacement of capacity at these three plants – location within its high-load areas and fast-start capability. It conceded the 310-MW DeSoto plant is the only available gas-fired capacity within the needed geographic area, but that it has doubts about DeSoto’s ability to retrofit the needed fast-start capability. After consulting with the manufacturer, General Electric, DeSoto told the PSC that it found that the startup capabilities of the units could be improved to approximately match those of FPL’s proposed CTs by purchasing GE’s “Fast Start OpFlex” package. DeSoto has also said it may have to shut its plant if it can’t sell power to FPL or the plant itself.

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.