October 15, 2020 Read More →

Florida muni OUC to close Stanton coal plant by 2027

Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando’s landmark power plants will cease burning coal by 2027 and switch to natural gas as an early step in a sweeping plan by the city’s utility for a surge in solar energy and cuts in carbon emissions of 50 percent by 2030 and entirely by 2050.

OUC has taken nearly two years and a $1 million study to respond in detail to a call by Orlando’s mayor and council for the city to have converted to 100 percent “clean, renewable energy” by the 2050.

OUC executives said Wednesday that the use of coal by its two Stanton Energy Center plants in east Orange County, workhorses for decades able to produce a combined 900 megawatts, will be cut significantly by 2025.

Converted to natural gas, the two units will not be as efficient as modern natural-gas plants, but the conversion will cost a small fraction of a building a new plant, officials said. Both units, constructed in the 1980s and 1990s and distinctive for their chimneys and cooling towers, would be permanently shuttered in 2040.

Meanwhile, the public utility is in early talks for another large solar plant, with a capacity of 150 megawatts, and is ramping up its capacity to store energy produced by solar plants with the use of advanced batteries and via hydrogen technology. So far, OUC has committed to 270 megawatts of solar energy.

While the two coal plants will be overhauled to run on natural gas, and OUC now owns a pair of plants that run on natural gas, the utility does not expect to again build another plant that runs on fossil fuel.

[Kevin Spear]

More: OUC to wipe out carbon emissions by switching from coal to natural gas, solar energy

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