Gainesville Regional Utilities has no major capacity additions in play

Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) retired four generating units in October 2013 – JRK steam unit #7 (23.2 MW), and JRK combustion turbines 1, 2, and 3 (14 MW each) – with Deerhaven fossil steam unit #1 scheduled for retirement in August 2022.

No additions to GRU-owned generating capacity are scheduled within this ten-year planning horizon, the municipal utility added in a March 30 Ten-Year Site Plan filed at the Florida Public Service Commission. However, GRU has been issued a construction permit for the installation of a nominal 50 MW of peaking power in 2018, if required. The need, timing and technology of this peaking power addition are under evaluation.

Any additional system generation is expected to be sited at the existing Deerhaven plant. The Deerhaven Generating Station plant site is located in the Suwannee River Water Management District. A small increase in water quantities for potable uses is projected with the addition of a biomass-fired facility.

GRU has two primary generating plant sites – Deerhaven (DH) and John R. Kelly (JRK). Each site is comprised of both steam turbine and combustion turbine generating units. The JRK station is the site of a steam turbine and combustion turbine that normally operate in combined cycle mode.

  • The Kelly Station is located in southeast Gainesville near the downtown business district, and consists of one combined cycle unit and the associated cooling facilities, fuel storage, pumping equipment, transmission and distribution equipment.
  • The Deerhaven (DH) Station is located six miles northwest of Gainesville. The facility consists of two steam turbines, three gas turbines, and the associated cooling facilities, fuel storage, pumping equipment and transmission equipment. DH 2 is coal fired and the site includes the coal unloading and storage facilities.

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC) biomass-fueled facility is located on land leased from GRU on the northwest portion of the existing Deerhaven plant site. This approximately 100-MW unit became commercially operational in December 2013. GRU entered a 30-year agreement with GREC to purchase all of the output of this unit and anticipates reselling a portion of the output over time. 

The South Energy Center (SEC), a combined heating and power plant (CHP), began providing services to the University of Florida (UF) Health South Campus hospital in February 2009. SEC houses a 3.5 MW natural gas-fired turbine capable of supplying 100% of the hospital’s electric and thermal needs. The South Energy Center provides electricity, chilled water, steam, and the storage and delivery of medical gases to the hospital. The unique design is 75% efficient at primary fuel conversion to useful energy and greatly reduces emissions compared to traditional generation. The facility is designed to provide electric power into the GRU distribution system when its capacity is not totally utilized by the hospital. UF Health has begun the construction of a new cardio-vascular/neuro-surgical hospital. The SEC is being expanded (SEC Phase II) to serve this new facility.

In 2009 GRU became the first utility in the United States to offer a European-style Solar Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Program. The program was scheduled to add capacity through 2016, limiting total capacity of 4 (additional) MW per year. Subsequently GRU agreed to purchase 100% of solar power produced by any qualified private generator, at a fixed rate, for a contract term of 20 years. The cost would be recovered through fuel adjustment charges. Approximately 18.6 MW were constructed under the Solar FIT Program through 2013. There were no additions allocated for 2014 or 2015 due to the program being suspended indefinitely. GRU said it is no longer accepting new projects or adding capacity. 

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.