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Industry News

Seminole Electric Coop Announces Plans for New Coal Power Plant

LCG, March 31, 2005--Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Seminole) yesterday announced plans to add a third, 750-MW coal-fired unit at its existing 1,300 MW Seminole Generating Station. The current target is to commence commercial operations in May 2012. Seminole states that the new capacity is needed to provide reliable, economical energy supplies to its ten member systems in Florida.

The project includes changes to the two, existing coal units that are located in Putnam County, Florida. New emission controls will be installed at the existing units, as well as a new, zero discharge system to evaporate the process wastewater from all three units and improve the quality of the station's water discharged into the St. Johns River. With the new system, only water from the cooling towers will continue to be discharged into the river.

Seminole is not alone in pursuing the development of new coal plants in Florida. Last month, Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced plans to build a new, 850-MW coal-fired station in St. Lucie County. FPL is planning an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) station that would begin operations in 2012 or 2013. The IGCC plant design is generally expected to result in higher initial capital costs than more traditional coal or gas-fired power plants. However, these capital costs are expected to be offset over the long term by the improved efficiency, reduced emissions and relatively low fuel cost.

In addition to FPL, Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) and Southern Power, the unregulated subsidiary of Southern Company, are developing a 285-MW, advanced coal plant to be built at OUC's existing Stanton Energy Center near Orlando, Florida. The project will receive a $235 million federal grant from the Department of Energy (DOE), and operations are planned to commence in 2010. Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) also plans to build a new, 220-MW coal-fired plant, with operations planned for 2011.

Over the past few years, most new generation installed in Florida has been fueled by natural gas. As proposed, Florida will have roughly 2,100 MW of new, coal-fired generating capacity in 2013 to serve its growing demand for electricity. The Florida Public Service Commission, which issued a new study in December 2004 regarding the outlook for new coal-fired generation, appears to have a positive outlook toward coal.

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