Florida PSC approves FPL’s purchase, later retirement of Indiantown coal plant

The Florida Public Service Commission on Oct. 3 approved Florida Power & Light’s (FPL) purchase and eventual retirement of the 330-MW, coal-fired Indiantown Cogeneration LP (ICL) plant.

The transaction is expected to save FPL customers $100 million to $151 million over the next nine years. Commissioners agreed that FPL’s $451 million purchase of ICL is more cost effective for customers than continuing above-market payments under an existing power purchase contract with the plant through 2025.

The PSC’s bench decision included a partial stipulation filed Sept. 20 between the Office of Public Counsel (OPC)—representing FPL ratepayers in this PSC proceeding—the Florida Industrial Power Users Group and FPL.

“Today, all parties agreed that a streamlined hearing process was in the best interest of FPL’s customers,” said PSC Commissioner Lisa Edgar in an Oct. 3 statement. “Based on the evidence provided, this purchase will result in significant savings for customers.”

With the plant purchase, FPL will decrease ICL’s annual capacity, reducing Florida’s CO2 emissions by more than 657,000 tons per year. Additionally, continued operation of the plant through 2018 will maintain FPL’s fuel supply reliability and diversity.

FPL bought electricity from ICL under a long-term power purchase agreement executed in May 1990, and approved under the Florida PSC’s qualifying facility rules in 1991.

Indiantown Cogeneration is a qualifying facility (QF) under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA) and began commercial operation in 1995. In May 2016, FPL entered into an agreement to assume ownership of the facility through a transaction with ICL’s upstream owner, Calypso Energy Holdings LLC.

Notable is that the Florida PSC in 2015 also approved an FPL proposal to buy and retire the 250-MW Cedar Bay power plant, which was also subject to an above-market power purchase agreement.

The Indiantown facility includes one high-pressure pulverized coal main boiler (PC boiler) rated at 3,422 million British thermal units (MMBtu)/hour heat input, and has a nominal net electrical power output of approximately 330 MW. It is permitted to fire natural gas, propane, or No. 2 fuel oil for startup, shutdown, or load changes. That is according to an air permit renewal issued in November 2014 by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Also included under the permit are two natural gas (or propane) fired identical auxiliary boilers used for supplying steam to the steam host during times when the PC boiler is offline, as well as during PC boiler startup and shutdown periods. The two identically sized packaged water-tube steam boilers have a combined rated maximum capacity of 350 MMBtu/hr.

The unit is equipped with low-NOX burners, over fire air, a steam coil air heater and air preheater, dual register burners and wind box design, a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system, spray dryer absorber, and fabric filter baghouse. An acrylic acid polymer can be added to the lime slurry used in the spray dryer absorber.

The coal handling system includes transport, crushing, and storage equipment, and supports the operation of the pulverized coal main boiler. Particulate matter (PM) emissions are controlled by: the use of fabric filter baghouses on the unloading building, storage area, crusher, and the top of the silo; enclosed conveyors and conveyor transfer points; and wet suppression on the coal railcar unloading operation, drop onto pile in the coal storage building, and outdoor coal pile as needed. The overall maximum throughput rate is approximately 1,100 tons per hour.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data shows the Indiantown plant taking coal in the first quarter of this year from the Boone North #1 surface mine in southern West Virginia through Mabanaft Coal Trading, under spot market arrangements.

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.