Enviro groups pressure Lakeland to end coal use at McIntosh plant

The Sierra Club said Dec. 3 that petitions will be delivered at the Dec. 7 meeting of the Lakeland City Commission in Florida calling on the commissioners to adopt business case 4 in Lakeland Electric‘s Strategic Resource Plan, which would end the use of coal at the single coal unit of the C.D. McIntosh power plant.

Lakeland Electric is developing new options to power the community and has created different plans for how it can move ahead. Its business case 4 calls for the retirement of McIntosh Unit 3. The City Commission, which also acts as the board of directors for Lakeland Electric, can approve the option to retire McIntosh Unit 3, and decide to invest more in solar power and energy efficiency, the club said.

The agenda for the Dec. 7 meeting of the commission’s Utility Committee shows that McIntosh Unit 3 will be discussed, but doesn’t give details on what will be discussed.

A Strategic Resource Plan that the city issued in March of this year said that a project team of nFront Consulting LLC and NewGen Strategies and Solutions LLC worked with the city to come up with four business cases:

  • Business Case 1: Build Future Resources – repower existing Lakeland Electric generation units.
  • Business Case 2: Purchase Future Resources – purchasing capacity and energy from the market as needed.
  • Business Case 3: Customer Demand Technology – elimination of load growth through high customer adoption of energy conservation and distributed generation (e.g., solar photovoltaic (PV)).
  • Business Case 4: Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulation – developing generation and demand-side resources to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) GHG goals.

Business Case 4 assumes that GHG regulations from EPA (which were proposed at that time and made final on Oct. 23) for new and existing electric utility generating resources will result in new environmental regulations being implemented in Florida. These regulations will require Lakeland Electric to not exceed certain CO2 emission targets beginning in 2020 (note that this was amended to 2022 in the final Clean Power Plan from EPA). Lakeland Electric resource dispatch simulations performed for the SRP indicate that the utility can meet the proposed CO2 targets by implementing the following: convert McIntosh Unit 3 from coal-fired to natural gas (NG)-fired operation by 2020; add utility solar PV resources consistent with current contractual arrangements; expand demand side management programs to offset approximately 7% of customer energy by 2034; and install or purchase power from carbon-neutral generating resources beginning in 2030.

With regard to McIntosh Unit 3 under Business Case 4, because the unit is designed to optimally operate on coal not natural gas, conversion to gas will result in an approximate 24% degradation of capacity from the unit (from 341.7 MW to 259.1 MW, of which Lakeland Electric owns 60%). With the degradation of McIntosh Unit 3 and the retirement of the gas-fired McIntosh Unit 2, Lakeland Electric would need to add approximately 59 MW through a peaking power purchase agreement through 2029.

Business Case 1 represents a traditional utility approach to build new generating resources as needed to meet future load growth and planning reserve criteria. Environmental regulations modeled for this case were based on currently adopted laws and rules, and do not include rules governing GHG (which were not final at the time). For Business Case 1, the SRP assumes the installation of a new combustion-turbine (CT) and heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) at the McIntosh Plant. These facilities will permit the repowering of the McIntosh Unit 2 steam turbine as a combined-cycle (CC) unit. Business Case 1 assumes the mothballing or retirement of several Lakeland Electric generating resources that are reaching the end of their useful lives. This case also assumes that Lakeland Electric will continue to provides demand-side programs consistent with current implementation rates and plans. Business Case 1 also assumes that Lakeland Electric will add utility solar PV resources consistent with current contractual arrangements.

Several small gas units on the bubble to be retired

Lakeland Electric currently maintains three fossil fuel-fired power plants: Larsen, McIntosh, and Winston. Generating resources include one coal-fired steam unit (jointly owned with the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC)), two natural gas-fired steam units, two combined cycle (CC) units, three combustion turbine (CT) units, and 22 internal combustion units. Winter capacity for these resources totals 975 MW.

Five of the Lakeland Electric generating units are nearing the end of their useful lives and were assumed to be retired in January 2015 for purposes of the projections and simulations modeled for the SRP. The units assumed to be retired include: Larsen CT Units 2 and 3, McIntosh Diesel Units 1 and 2, and McIntosh Steam Unit 1.

Additionally, for Business Cases 2, 3, and 4, McIntosh Steam Unit 2 is assumed to be retired by November 2020. For Business Case 1, the boiler for McIntosh Unit 2 is assumed to be retired by November 2020, while the steam turbine and electric generator is assumed to be retained for repowering as a CC resource. For Business Case 1, a new F-class CT is planned for installation at the McIntosh Plant to coincide with the retirement of the McIntosh Unit 2 boiler. A new HRSG is assumed to be installed between November 2020 and November 2022, and paired with the new CT to supply steam to the McIntosh Unit 2 steam turbine and electric generator, creating a repowered CC resource operating by November 2022.

Existing resources include:

  • Larsen Unit 2, natural gas CT, net summer 10 MW;
  • Larsen Unit 3, natural gas CT, net summer 9 MW;
  • Larsen Unit, 8, natural gas CC, net summer 105 MW;
  • Winston Units 1-20, internal combustion engines, net summer 50 MW;
  • McIntosh D 1&2, internal combustion, net summer 5 MW;
  • McIntosh GT, natural gas CT, net summer 16 MW;
  • McIntosh Unit 1, natural gas ST, net summer 85 MW;
  • McIntosh Unit 2, natural gas ST, net summer 106 MW;
  • McIntosh Unit 3, coal ST, net summer 205 MW (Lakeland share); and
  • McIntosh Unit 5, natural gas CC, net summer 338 MW.
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.