Energy in Florida
Forecast for solar power in Florida: Partly sunny
> Florida ranks second in power generation from natural gas, 62% of the state’s total electric generation last year. Texas was No. 1.
> Coal accounts for 21% of electric generation in the state.
> Renewable energy accounts for 2.2% of power generation statewide.
> The average Florida household spends $1,900 a year on electricity costs, 40% above the national average.
Siemens’ Wind Service Training Center in Orlando uses three 30-foot towers and two 100-ton generators to train techs.
The American Wind Energy Association says wind power grew to more than 61,000 megawatts in 2013, a 140% increase over five years. Nationwide, wind power made up 4.13% of all electricity generation in the United States last year, the AWEA reported.
Even though the cost of photovoltaic cells has fallen drastically in the past five years, solar power’s time still may be years away.
OUC’s Community Solar Farm provides power to 39 customers. The municipal utility is looking into expanding its solar service.
Duke’s Billion-Dollar Plans
Duke Energy, the second-largest utility in the state, plans to spend nearly $1.7 billion on building a combined-cycle, natural-gas plant and two simple-cycle combustion turbine generators at two Florida facilities. The new generators and a $160-million upgrade to a third facility will produce a combined 2,200 megawatts of power by 2018.
The improvement plans come as Duke continues with the decommissioning of the structurally damaged Crystal River nuclear plant, which has been offline since 2009. The company also recently announced it had canceled plans to build a nuke plant in Levy County.
If it gets regulatory approvals, the Charlotte, N.C.-based utility expects to begin construction in 2016 on a natural-gas addition to its Crystal River Energy Complex. The $1.5-billion project is slated to replace two 1960s-era coal-fired plants and bring up to 700 jobs to the Citrus County area. Duke says it decided to retire the old units rather than equip them with scrubbers to meet federal regulations. A scrubber removes sulfur dioxide emissions, a major air pollutant, from the exhaust of a coal-fired power plant.
Duke also plans to begin operating in 2016 two simple-cycle combustion turbine generators at its Suwannee Plant near Live Oak. The generators will produce 320 megawatts of power and will be used to meet peak periods of demand. The new units cost $197 million and will replace three steam plants built in the 1950s.
Finally, Duke will install inlet airchilling units at its Hines Energy Complex in Polk County to increase efficiency and power output during summer months. The upgrades will be in place by 2017, boosting the 1,912-megawatt Polk plant’s power generation by 220 megawatts.
Duke’s Florida customers — now at 1. 6 million — will pick up the tab for the upgrades, paying a “recovery” fee of $9.19 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours.
Waste to Energy
Sustainable energy producer Harvest Power is nearing its first full year of converting organic waste into renewable biogas and fertilizers.
Harvest’s Energy Garden gets its organic waste from area hotels, restaurants and theme parks. The producer uses anaerobic digestion, “naturally occurring microorganisms to break down organic materials and produce biogas — a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide” — that is then combusted to produce renewable energy, according to the company’s website. The company says the plant is the first of its kind in the country. It produces 3.2 megawatts of power and 1.6 megawatts of recoverable heat, with the latter being used to dry natural fertilizers. Harvest says the facility can process 130,000 tons of organic waste a year.