Tampa Electric Seeks to
Convert Big Bend to Gas
TECO Energy, parent company of Tampa Electric, plans to seek regulatory approval to convert the 1,700-MW coal-fired Big
Bend power plant to natural gas.
If approved, the $1 billion conversion
would take up to a decade to complete,
the Tampa Tribune reported. The company
has already been conducting studies and
engineering analysis on the site for a
potential conversion for several years, said
TECO executive Rob Bennett.
“It’s a big decision,” Bennett said. “It
has to work. It has to make sense for 35 or
Under the plan, two of the four coal
units would convert to combined cycle gas
generators within two years, while the other
two would change over in five to ten years.
Bennett said the main reason for the
conversion was to continue to phase out
coal. The Big Bend units are the oldest in
Tampa Electric’s fleet. The utility also plans
to add 600 MW of solar capacity. Last
year, five workers were killed at Big
Bend when a blockage burst and covered
molten slag on employees cleaning
hardened slag from the bottom of a tank.
Bennett said the conversion is not related
to that accident.
E.ON Begins Construction of
Wind Facility in Texas
Renewable developer E.ON has
officially begun construction of a 201-MW
wind facility in Kenedy County, Texas.
The Stella wind farm will be powered
by 67 three-MW wind turbines manufactured by Nordex, and marks the fifth Texas
development for the company.
Stella is expected for completion by the
end of this year.
Additionally, E.ON marked the
official commercial operations of two
additional wind facilities – the 228-MW
Bruenning’s Breeze in Willacy County,
Texas and the 306-MW Radford’s Run
in Macon County, Illinois.
Acquires Wind Development
Sammons Renewable Energy has purchased the 162.9-MW Midway Wind
from Apex Clean Energy. Planned for the
Texas Gulf Coast in San Patricio County,
Midway Wind will incorporate 47 Siemens
Gamesa G132 turbines.
The project has an anticipated commercial operation date of December 2018.
“Midway’s location near Texas’ wind-rich Gulf Coast, and its proximity to the
Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ South
Hub, position the development to fill an
energy gap that will widen as coal-gener-ation in ERCOT is retired,” said Heather
Kreager, CEO of Sammons Enterprises, the
ultimate parent company of Sammons
Report: Untapped Potential in
Existing Wind Fleet
A new study by Uptake Technologies
concludes existing turbines in the United
States aren’t producing as much power as
they could, and have the potential to generate an additional 12 TWh of electricity.
The study indicates operational hur-dles have prevented wind facilities from
reaching 99 percent availability due to
unforeseen issues resulting in reactive
maintenance, unorganized and
decentralized data, unnecessary
inspections based on time instead of
component condition, challenges in
managing parts inventory and flaws in
wind equipment, such as defects in
anemometers and poor vertical and
“Some existing wind parks have un-derperformed preconstruction energy
assessments,” the report said. “For projects under development, producing more
energy will be necessary as renewable
procurement auctions press for ever-lower
costs to find an energy buyer.”
California Approves Closure
of State’s last nuclear plant
California utility regulators have approved an agreement to retire the state’s
last nuclear power plant.
The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Thursday to ratify
a 2016 deal to mothball the Diablo Canyon
nuclear plant at San Luis Obispo.
Environmentalists and plant-owner
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have agreed that
the state no longer needs the electricity
from the nuclear plant. That’s due in part
to the growing affordability of solar and
wind power, as well as natural gas.
Utilities Commission President Michael
Picker says Diablo Canyon no longer
makes economic sense.
The deal also allows PG&E to recover
$241 million from ratepayers for closing
AES, Siemens Storage
Fluence Energy, an energy storage technology and services company jointly
owned by Siemens and The AES Corporation, announced the receipt of all government approvals and authorizations and
the launch of business operations on Jan.
Fluence combines the engineering,
product development, implementation
and services capabilities of AES Energy
Storage and Siemens’ energy storage team
and now embarks on an aggressive expansion of the business backed by the financial
support of the two parent organizations.
Fluence also announced it will be the
supplier of the world’s largest lithium-ion
battery-based storage project, a 100
MW/400 MWh (4-hour duration) installation that will be part of AES’ Alamitos
power center in Long Beach, California
serving Southern California Edison and
the Western Los Angeles area
for Nearly Half of New
Capacity in 2017
The estimated 25 GW of new, utili-ty-scale renewable generation that came
online in 2017 will have comprised 49