OUC Completes Purchase Of 510-Megawatt Power Plant
September 30, 2021
by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
September 30, 2021
Florida public power utility Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) on Sept. 28 completed its purchase of the Osceola Generating Station, a 510-megawatt (MW) single-cycle natural gas-fired power plant located near Harmony in Osceola County.
OUC announced plans to purchase the facility last month.
OUC noted that the nearly $100 million deal to purchase and upgrade the inactive plant from Genova, a Texas-based private ownership group, does not change OUC’s commitment to net zero CO2 emissions as outlined in its Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP), the utility’s 30-year energy roadmap.
The acquisition enables OUC to retire its oldest coal-fired power plant, Stanton Unit 1, which went into operation in 1987 at the Stanton Energy Center in east Orange County, instead of converting it to natural gas as stated in the EIRP.
Unit 1’s retirement date has not been determined, but OUC remains committed to significantly reducing coal fired generation no later than 2025 and eliminating it no later than 2027, the utility said.
The 20-year-old Osceola plant is comprised of three separate turbines, known in the industry as “peakers,” which can be powered up or down in just minutes. This capability will be used to mitigate fluctuations in solar energy production.
OUC is aggressively increasing its reliance on solar energy, with plans to boost capacity to power 50,000 typical residential homes by late 2023.
“Acquiring the Osceola Generating Station provides OUC with an extra layer of resiliency because it’s equipped with emergency backup fuel, a critical resource to have on hand in case of fuel supply disruptions and is more cost effective for OUC’s customers than converting and operating Stanton Unit 1,” OUC said.
“As we move forward with our clean energy transition, ensuring operational flexibility is essential to maintaining reliability, resiliency, and affordability for our customers,” OUC General Manager & CEO Clint Bullock said in a statement. “We are also committed to continued investments in solar and energy storage. This purchase of peaker generator units positions us to better manage the solar production fluctuations caused by cloud cover in Florida.”
Under the EIRP, OUC plans to increase the use of renewable energy resources and encourage conservation to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, with interim carbon emissions reductions of 50% and 75% by 2030 and 2040, respectively.