Duke Energy Florida forecasts higher coal burn in 2017

Duke Energy Florida will barely run the older, coal-fired Crystal River Units 1 and 2 in 2017, except that Unit 2 will get some monthly capacity factors in the 30%-35% range in the May-September summer peak load season.

That data can be found in a Sept. 1 fuel report that Duke Energy Florida filed with the Florida Public Service Commission. Crystal River Units 1-2 are targeted for eventual retirement for clean-air reasons, while the newer, bigger and emissions-equipped Units 4-5 are to be kept in operation over the long term. Unit 3 is a retired nuclear facility.

Coal price projections in the filing are based on the current coal supply, transportation agreements, and forecasted deliveries. It assumes environmental restrictions on coal quality remain in effect as per current permits: 2.1 lbs. per million BTU SO2 limit for Crystal River Units 1 and 2. Crystal River 4 and 5 have operating scrubbers which allow for consideration of cheaper, higher-sulfur coal. The fuel price projections range from $90.13/ton in January 2017 for Units 1 and 2, rising to $93.40/ton in December. For Units 4-5, the price is $69.78/ton in January, falling to $60.23/ton in December.

Coal burn is projected at 4.7 million tons in 2017, with coal representing 28% of the utility’s generation mix. Comparable figures for the 2014-2016 period are:

  • 2014 – 4.8 million tons of coal burn, coal was 31% of generation mix;
  • 2015 – 4.4 million tons of coal burn, coal was 28% of mix; and
  • 2016 (projected) – 4.1 million tons of burn, 26% of mix.

The net capacities of the Crystal River units are: Unit 1 (376 MW); Unit 2 (500 MW); Unit 4 (732 MW); and Unit 5 (712 MW). The capacity factors for Units 4 and 5 stay pretty high, up as high as 90%, for each month of the year. The capacity factors for Units 1 and 2 are very low, down as far as 0%, for most of the year, with that summer surge for Unit 2 only. Both Units 1 and 2 have 0% capacity factor projections for December 2017.

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.