Florida Power plans two big new gas-fired power plants by 2023

Florida Power & Light‘s (FPL) resource planning efforts in 2014 and early 2015 resulted in a resource plan that has four key differences compared to the resource plan presented in FPL’s 2014 Ten-Year Site Plan.

The new version of that plan was filed on April 1 at the Florida Public Service Commission. These plans are filed annually, so they don’t tend to change that much from year to year. The four key differences from last year’s version are:

  • FPL No Longer Projects That It Will Serve Vero Beach’s Electrical Load – Difficulties in the negotiations between the parties involved have led FPL to no longer project that it will serve Vero Beach’s electrical load. This factor results in a lowering of FPL’s forecasted load and projected resource needs. To the extent circumstances change and a consummation of the sale once again seems likely, FPL will reincorporate this load into its forecast.
  • FPL’s Power Purchase Agreement with Cedar Bay Will Be Terminated in 2015 – FPL anticipates terminating its existing power purchase agreement for 250 MW of coal-fired capacity from the Cedar Bay facility at the end of August 2015 as a result of a Purchase and Sale Agreement between FPL and Cedar Bay Generating Co. LP. FPL would then assume ownership of the facility starting on Sept. 1, 2015. FPL anticipates that it will not need the unit for economic purposes after 2016 and, if that proves to be the case, would retire the unit at that time. FPL has filed for FPSC approval of this plan.
  • FPL To Triple Its Solar Capacity by the End of 2016 – FPL will be adding three new photovoltaic (PV) facilities by the end of 2016. Each will be approximately 74.5 MW (nameplate ac). As a result, FPL’s solar generation capacity will increase from its current 110 MW to approximately 333 MW. The new PV installations are projected to be sited in Manatee (existing Manatee power plant site), Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. The economics of these specific PV projects are aided by the fact that the sites are located close to existing electric infrastructure, including tranmission lines and electric substations, and by the fact that bringing these solar facilities into service prior to the end of 2016 will allow the facilities to take advantage of the current 30% investment tax credit that is scheduled to be reduced to 10% beginning in 2017.
  • Turkey Point 6 & 7 Projected In-Service Dates Have Been Moved Outside of this 10-year Plan – In recent Site Plans, the earliest practical deployment dates for the new Turkey Point 6 & 7 nuclear units were 2022 and 2023. However, in the second half of 2014, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a new schedule for completing its review of FPL’s Combined Operating License Application (COLA) for these units. The NRC’s new schedule now projects that its review will not be completed until late 2016, a major delay from the NRC’s previous projection of 2014 completion. As a consequence of the NRC delay, and the impacts of the recently amended Florida nuclear cost recovery (NCR) statute, FPL now projects that the earliest practical deployment dates for Turkey Point 6 & 7 will fall outside of the 10-year time period for this latest Site Plan. The projected new in-service dates for Turkey Point Units 6 & 7 are June 2027 and June 2028, respectively.

In regard to using natural gas more efficiently, FPL received approvals in 2008 from the FPSC to modernize the existing Cape Canaveral and Riviera Beach plant sites with new, highly efficient combined cycle (CC) units to replace the former steam generating units on each of those sites. The Cape Canaveral modernization was commissioned in April 2013 and the Riviera Beach modernization was commissioned in April 2014. In April 2012, FPL received FPSC approval for a similar modernization project at the Port Everglades site. That 1,237-MW (net summer) project is scheduled for completion in mid-2016.

In the future, FPL said it will continue to identify and evaluate alternatives that may maintain or enhance system fuel diversity. In this regard, FPL is  maintaining the ability to utilize heavy oil and/or ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD) oil at existing units that have that capability. For this purpose, FPL has completed the installation of electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) at the two 800-MW steam generating units at its Manatee site and at the two 800-MW steam generating units at its Martin site. These installations will enable FPL to retain the ability to burn heavy oil, as needed, at these sites while retaining the flexibility to use natural gas when economically attractive. In addition, the new CTs that FPL plans to install at its existing Lauderdale and Fort Myers sites, which will replace older gas turbine (GT) units that are being retired, will have the capability to burn either natural gas or ULSD oil.

Turbine replacements at existing plants, and brand-new plants, in the works

The new gas-fired additions are:

  • The Fort Myers plant additions would be two CTs, of 211 MW (summer net, plus 20 MW peaking capacity) apiece, to be commercial in 2016. The existing Fort Myers Plant consists of one natural gas-fired combined cycle (CC) unit, two natural gas- and oil-fired combustion turbine (CT) units, and one bank of 12 oil fired gas turbines (GTs) (peaking facilities) that have a combined capacity of 2,403 summer megawatts. Presently, the bank of 12 first generation GTs (which started operation in the early 1970s) provide power during periods of peak demand and black start capability in the event of a power outage. FPL plans to add the two new CTs and retire ten of the existing GTs by the end of 2016. The two new CTs will be more efficient with cleaner air emissions than the existing GTs. In addition, the two existing CTs will be upgraded to produce additional generation capacity. 
  • At Lauderdale the plan is for five CTs of the same capacity as those at Fort Myers, also to be commercially operating in 2016. The Lauderdale Plant currently includes two combined cycle units and two banks of 12 first generation simple cycle GTs that began operation in the early 1970s. These GTs are used to serve peak and emergency demands in a quick-start manner. Each bank of GTs has a net capacity of 420 MW and they are authorized to operate on natural gas and distillate oil. FPL plans to retire 22 of the 24 existing GTs and partially replace this peaking capacity with the five new CTs. This GT removal with CT replacement is assumed to occur by the end of 2016. 
  • Due for commercial operation in 2019 would be the brand-new Okeechobee Clean Energy Center, which is a gas-fired, combined-cycle project of 1,622 MW (net summer) in size. FPL owns 2,800 acres of land in Northeast Okeechobee County. FPL plans to use about 200 acres of this land for development of a combined cycle (CC) unit. A CC unit at this site has been determined to be FPL’s best self-build option for meeting its capacity needs beginning in 2019. In March 2015, FPL issued a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit proposals from outside parties for meeting this capacity need. FPL’s CC unit at the Okeechobee site, and the RFP proposals, will be evaluated by FPL and an Independent Evaluator to determine which option(s) is the best selection for FPL’s customers. Natural gas-fired CC generation at the site is possible due to the proximity to existing and planned natural gas pipelines. FPL also currently views the Okeechobee site as one of the most likely sites to be used for future large-scale solar using photovoltaic (PV) facilities. 
  • There is also a gas-fired project called the “Unsited 3×1 CC,” which would go commercial in 2023 and be 1,317 MW (summer net) in size.

On the nuclear front, the Turkey Point Plant is located on the west side of Biscayne Bay, 25 miles south of Miami. The land surrounding Turkey Point is owned by FPL and acts as a buffer zone. Turkey Point is comprised of two natural gas/oil conventional steam units (Units 1 & 2), two nuclear units (Units 3 & 4), one combined cycle natural gas unit (Unit 5), nine small diesel generators, and the cooling canals. A capacity uprate project for the two nuclear units was successfully completed in 2013. In May 2014, the Florida Power Plant Siting Board authorized the site certification, with conditions, of Turkey Point 6 & 7. Each of these two units would provide 1,100 MW of nuclear capacity. For Turkey Point Units 6 & 7, the technology proposed is the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor (PWR).

Three sites identified for possible new power plants

Three sites are currently identified as “Potential Sites” for future generation additions to meet FPL’s projected capacity and energy needs. They are desirable due to considerations of location to FPL load centers, space, infrastructure, and/or accessibility to fuel and transmission facilities. These sites are suitable for different capacity levels and technologies, including both renewable energy and non-renewable energy technologies for various sites. At this time, FPL considers each site to be equally viable.

  • Potential Site #1 in Hendry County – FPL has acquired an approximately 3,120-acre site in southeast Hendry County, off CR 833. The Hendry County site has been listed as a Preferred or Potential Site in previous FPL Site Plans as a possibility for a future PV facility and/or natural gas-fired CC generation. FPL currently views the Hendry site as one of the most likely sites to be used for future large-scale generation.
  • Potential Site #2 in Martin County – FPL is currently evaluating potential sites in Martin County for a future PV facility. No specific locations have been selected at this time.
  • Potential Site #3 in Putnam County – FPL is currently evaluating the existing Putnam Plant site for future natural gas-fired generation. This 66-acre site is located on the east side of Highway 100 opposite the former FPL Palatka Plant in East Palatka. The Putnam site has been listed as a Potential Site in previous FPL Site Plans as a possibility for future natural gas-fired CC generation. FPL currently views it as one of the most likely sites to be used for future large-scale generation.

In the last several years, FPL has retired a number of older, less efficient generating units including: Sanford Unit 3, Cutler Units 5 & 6, Cape Canaveral Units 1 & 2, Riviera Beach Units 3 & 4, and Port Everglades Units 1-4. In addition, Turkey Point Unit 2 has been converted to operate in synchronous condenser mode to provide voltage support in Southeastern Florida. This trend is projected to continue. Putnam Units 1 & 2 were retired at the end of 2014. In addition, similar to the earlier conversion of Turkey Point Unit 2, FPL projects that Turkey Point Unit 1 will be converted to run in synchronous condenser mode starting in 2016.

The existing FPL generating resources are located at 14 sites distributed geographically around its service territory, plus one site in Georgia (partial FPL ownership of one unit at the Scherer coal plant) and one site in Jacksonville, Florida (partial FPL ownership of two units at the coal-fired St. Johns River Power Park). As of Dec. 31, 2014, FPL’s electrical generating facilities consisted of: four nuclear units, three coal units, 15 combined cycle units, five fossil steam units, 48 combustion gas turbines, two simple cycle combustion turbines, and two solar photovoltaic facilities.

Notable is that FPL has contracts with the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) for the purchase of 382 MW (Summer) and 389 MW (Winter) of coal-fired generation from the St. John’s River Power Park (SJRPP) Units No. 1 and No. 2. However, due to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, the total amount of energy that FPL may receive from this purchase is limited. FPL currently assumes, for planning purposes, that this limit will be reached in the second quarter of 2019. Once this limit is reached, FPL will be unable to receive firm capacity and energy from these purchases. However, FPL said it will continue to receive firm capacity and energy from its ownership portion of the SJRPP units.

Consistent with the forecast presented in FPL’s 2014 Site Plan, the total growth projected for the ten-year reporting period of this plan is significant. The summer peak is projected to increase to 26,771 MW by 2024, up by 3,836 MW over the 2014 actual summer peak.

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.