Florida Power and Light works on okay for 1,600-MW Okeechobee plant

Florida Power and Light filed with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection supplemental information in response to a department deficiency letter related to FPL’s Sept. 25 application for a Site Certificate for the 1,600-MW Okeechobee Clean Energy Center.

FPL proposes to construct a new combined cycle natural gas fired generating unit (called OCEC Unit 1), providing approximately 1,600 MW (nominal) of electric generation in 2019. The project site is comprised of approximately 2,341 acres of FPL’s 2,842 acre property located adjacent to the existing 500-kV transmission system in northeastern Okeechobee County. The site includes an area designated for potential future development of approximately 200 MW of photovoltaic (PV) solar generation that will bring the net ultimate site capacity to 1,800 MW nominal.

FPL said the site is ideally located in an area adjacent to both natural gas and electrical transmission through lateral connections or existing structures. The site also has groundwater available to support plant operations including process water, steam cycle makeup, cooling water makeup, and miscellaneous plant uses.

FPL is seeking approval of the OCEC Project under the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act (PPSA). The PPSA provides a centralized review and licensing process for new steam or solar electrical generating facilities in Florida of 75 MW or greater. The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) is the sole forum for the determination of need for a proposed facility. FPL is currently seeking a determination of need for the OCEC Unit 1.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) acts as the coordinator for the Site Certification process, with input from various state, regional, and local agencies, along with interested citizens. Ultimate disposition of the SCA is determined by the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Siting Board, or by the Secretary of the FDEP.

The OCEC Unit 1 will be a net 1,600-MW nominal 3-on-1 combined cycle electrical generating unit that will consist of three new advanced-technology combustion turbine/electric generators (CTs), three new heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs), and one steam turbine/electric generator, along with on-Site supporting facilities. The CTs are similar to, but much larger and more efficient than, traditional aircraft jet engines. The CTs produce electrical energy by direct connection to an electric generator.

The exhaust heat from the CTs, which would otherwise be wasted energy released to the atmosphere, will be routed through the HRSGs, which act as boilers to produce steam for the new steam turbine generator to produce additional electricity. Off-Site associated facilities include a minimal transmission line interconnection to existing 500-kV transmission lines and improvements to an existing access roadway.

Natural gas will be the primary fuel for OCEC Unit 1. Ultra low-sulfur distillate (ULSD) “light oil” will be used as a backup fuel for the CTs. 

On Nov. 30, some changes in the review schedule were proposed by FDEP staff, including: moving the deadline for FPL to publish newspaper notice of land use hearing before the administrative law judge (ALJ) (if a petition for hearing was filed by a substantially affected person) moved from January 5, 2016 to January 26, 2016; ALJ issues recommended order from hearing on land use consistency moved from February 22, 2016 to March 14, 2016; the deadline for DEP to publish Florida Administrative Register notice of Siting Board hearing on land use consistency moved from April 4, 2016 to April 25, 2016; and Siting Board hearing on land use consistency moved from April 19, 2016 to May 10, 2016.

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.