Florida agency seeks input on air permit for FPL’s 1,600-MW Okeechobee project

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection issued Jan. 12 draft documents for public comment related to air permitting by Florida Power & Light (FPL) for its 1,600-MW Okeechobee Clean Energy Center (OCEC), to be located in unincorporated Okeechobee County, approximately 27 miles north-northeast of Okeechobee and 24 miles west of Vero Beach.

The proposed site is located in the northeastern corner of the county, less than a mile from the border with Indian River County.

This project, called OCEC Unit 1, will consist of three combustion turbines (CTs) and one steam turbine, in a “3-on-1” combined cycle configuration. Each of the CTs of Unit 1 will have a nominal gross capacity of 350 MW. Each CT will be equipped with a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) that will generate steam from the hot exhaust gases. Additional power will be generated in the steam turbine from this steam. The total nominal generating capacity of Unit 1 will be 1,600 MW (net).

These CTs will be primarily fueled with natural gas, with ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD fuel oil) as a limited-use backup fuel. Additional acreage at the site may possibly be used for solar photovoltaic generation in the future.

The combustion turbines to be used in OCEC Unit 1 are the General Electric 7HA.02 model, each with a nominal capacity of 350 MW. These turbines will be fueled primarily with natural gas; FPL has requested the equivalent of 500 hours per year per CT at base load on ULSD fuel oil, as the backup fuel. This corresponds to a maximum of about 33.6 million gallons of ULSD fuel oil per year for Unit 1.

Several other air emissions units are included in the construction of OCEC Unit 1:

  • One natural gas-fired auxiliary boiler, with a capacity of 99.8 MMBtu/hr, by higher heating value. This boiler will be used for startups or shutdowns to provide steam to the steam cycle, and it will be fueled exclusively with natural gas.
  • One nominal 7-million-gallon ULSD fuel oil fuel oil storage tank.
  • Three ULSD fuel oil -fueled emergency generators. These will be operated only in emergencies, and for testing and maintenance.
  • Natural gas heaters (two, one of which is a spare). These will have a heat input of 10 MMBtu/hr or less and are used as necessary to heat natural gas above the dew point.
  • One fire water pump diesel engine. This will be operated only in emergencies, and for testing and maintenance.
  • Two propane-fueled emergency engines for the hurricane shelter. These will be operated only in emergencies, and for testing and maintenance.
  • One 30-cell mechanical draft cooling tower.
  • Approximately 17 circuit breakers containing sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

FPL applied for this air permittting on Sept. 25, 2015.

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) on Jan. 5 approved the need for this project. “FPL’s OCEC Unit 1 will ensure continued efficient and reliable energy generation for FPL’s customers, which will also translate into millions of dollars of savings for its customers,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown in a Jan. 5 statement.

FPL filed a petition in September 2015 with the PSC proposing to construct OCEC Unit 1 on utility-owned property. Estimated to cost $1.2 billion, the facility will generate 1,633 MW at summer peak. Pending other federal and state approvals, work will begin in 2017.

“The FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center represents another major milestone in our successful program of phasing out older power-generating units and investing in new, high-efficiency clean energy centers that reduce emissions and save our customers money on fuel costs,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL. “Not only is the FPL Okeechobee Clean Energy Center the most cost-effective option for meeting Florida’s future energy needs, it will also help us keep our customers’ bills low for the long term and further reduce emissions from our system, which is already among the cleanest and most affordable in the nation.”

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.