Coal may be coming back as a power source, if President Donald Trump is to be believed. However, as of early 2018, there will be one fewer coal power plant in Florida.
As a JEA press release indicates, the Jacksonville utility and Florida Power and Light intend to decommission the St. Johns River Power Park, located on Jacksonville’s Northside.
The 1,252 MW coal-fired electric generating plant went online in the late 1980s, and has shared ownership; JEA holds an 80 percent share, and FPL holds the balance.
Because of improved efficiency in appliances since the plant went online, the plant produces half the energy it did a decade ago.
As recently as 2009, a $283 million environmental upgrade was made to the plant, via the addition of selective catalytic reactors to reduce emissions.
These changes were implemented on an “aggressive schedule” over a 23 month period.
“This agreement is important for JEA and will allow us to right-size our power generation capabilities while offering, significant environmental benefits to the community,” said JEA CEO Paul McElroy.
“The operational savings we will realize will help us address capital needs and pay down debt to keep rates stable. We regret that this move will result in job displacements for many dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled employees. Our team is fully committed to helping them by providing outplacement and training services, as well as a separation benefit package that reflects their years of service and dedication,” McElroy added.
“We’ve been extremely proud to partner with JEA at SJRPP to provide reliable power for both utilities’ customers for three decades. Now, however, it makes financial and environmental sense for all of our customers to close this coal plant,” said Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL.
“Closing the plant early results in enormous value for FPL customers – saving millions of dollars annually as well as continuing to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for all of Florida – another major step forward in our affordable, reliable and clean energy strategy,” Silagy added.
The JEA Board will have to vote to ratify this move, which could affect 204 plant employees.