Duke Energy Florida gets final air permit for Suwannee expansion project

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection on April 28 issued a final air construction permit to Duke Energy Florida covering the installation of two nominal 178-MW simple cycle combustion turbines (CTs) at the Suwannee River Power Plant to provide additional peaking resources at the facility.

The new CTs will be designated Units P4 and P5. The Suwannee River Power Plant is located within the city of Live Oak in Suwannee County, Florida.

Duke Energy Florida, a unit of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), is currently before the Florida Public Service Commission for approval of a buy of the existing Osprey power plant of Calpine (NYSE: CPN), with the Suwannee project the fallback in case that purchase doesn’t happen.

The Suwannee River Power Plant is a nominal 345-MW facility comprised of three fossil fuel-fired steam generators (Boiler Nos. 1, 2, and 3) and three combustion turbine peaking units (CTP Unit Nos. 1, 2, and 3). Boiler Nos. 1, 2, and 3 began operation in 1953, 1954, and 1956 respectively while CTP Units Nos. 1, 2 and 3 began operation in October 1980. The current CTP units generate 189 MW with the boilers contributing 156 MW.

Said the final air permit: “DEF proposes to construct two nominal 178 MW natural gas-fueled General Electric (GE) 7FA.03 model simple cycle combustion turbines (CT) and ancillary equipment. The ancillary equipment will include: two new natural gas‐fired fuel gas heaters, a new emergency diesel fire pump, a new 2.5 million gallon double‐wall fuel oil storage tank, as well as four new circuit breakers and miscellaneous natural gas piping components. The fuel for these two CTs will be natural gas with 2 grains sulfur per 100 standard cubic feet (2 g S/100 scf) as the primary fuel and ultra-low sulfur distillate (ULSD) fuel oil with 0.0015% sulfur as a limited backup fuel. Natural gas will be delivered to the site by the existing pipeline; however, new piping components will be installed to deliver the fuel to the specific area where the new CT will be located. ULSD fuel oil delivery will be by truck.

“The project includes the permanent shutdown of fossil fuel steam Boiler No. 3,” the DEP added. “Its shutdown date will be commensurate with the commercial operation of the new units. During the initial startup and shakedown of the CT peaking Units P4 and P5, the existing Boiler No. 3 may continue to operate.”

The planned purchase of Calpine’s Osprey power plant or an expansion of the Suwannee River plant are still the most cost-effective generation alternative to meet remaining need prior to 2018, said DEF in a May 6 pre-hearing brief filed at the Florida Public Service Commission. The commission plans a June 3 hearing on Duke Energy Florida’s Jan. 30 petition for a determination that its buy of Calpine Construction Finance Co. LP‘s Osprey Plant is one of two ways it can meet its new capacity needs out to 2018.

In 2014, DEF applied with the commission to upgrade its Suwannee River and Hines power plants to meet capacity needs out to 2018, and to build the 1,640-MW Citrus combined-cycle gas plant next to the existing Crystal River coal/nuclear plant to meet its beyond-2018 needs. As part of the settlement with parties to the case, the commission approved last fall the Hines and Citrus projects, plus the Osprey acquisition, but only if Duke could reach an acceptable agreement with Calpine on that purchase.

The Osprey Plant (also called the Osprey Energy Center) is a natural gas-fired, combined cycle facility located in Auburndale, Polk County, Florida. The Osprey Plant began commercial operation in 2004. It produces approximately 534 MW on a base load basis and up to 599 MW (nominal) with additional peaking 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.