The Big Bend modernisation project involves the partial conversion of the existing 50-year-old Big Bend coal-fired power station in Florida, US, into natural gas-fired combined-cycle operations.
Estimated to cost $853m, the modernisation project will repower the plant’s oldest unit Big Bend-1 (445MW) with a 1,090MW two-on-one combined-cycle unit and decommission the Big Bend-2 (445MW), while Big Bend-3 (445MW) and Big Bend-4 (486MW) will continue to be operational.
Scheduled for completion in 2023, the modernisation project will bring the combined capacity of the power station to 2,021MW, while consuming less coal and water, producing less wastewater, and reducing carbon emissions by approximately three million tonnes.
Big Bend modernisation project development details
The Big Bend power station is owned and operated by Tampa Electric (TECO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based company Emera. TECO was acquired by Emera in 2016.
TECO announced the Big Bend modernisation project in May 2018 and secured final approval from the Government of Florida in July 2019.
Construction activities for the project are expected to be started in the third quarter of 2019.
Project location and site details
The Big Bend power plant is located on a 76ha-site on Big Bend Road in Tampa Bay, near the Apollo Beach, in the Hillsborough County of Florida, US. The modernisation project will be located on 3.6ha within the existing site.
A lateral pipeline will be laid from an existing pipeline on the Big Bend site for natural gas supply, with a section falling under Wyandotte Road.
Big Bend modernisation project details
The existing Big Bend-2 unit of the power station will be retired in 2021 as part of the modernisation project.
The modernisation will be completed in two phases. Phase one will involve the repowering of the Big Bend-1 with a simple-cycle gas-fired unit equipped with two GE 7HA.02 combustion turbines.
Phase two will involve the further conversion of the unit into combined-cycle operations by installing two heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) and modifying the existing Big Bend-1 steam turbine generator. The 1,090MW new gas-fired facility will reuse the existing cooling system for Big Bend-1.
Phase one is expected to be operational in 2021, followed by the second phase in 2023.
After the upgrade, Big Bend power station is expected to generate enough electricity for 750,000 households in West Central Florida.
Sargent & Lundy was contracted for the design, engineering, procurement, project management, as well as construction management for the Big Bend modernisation project in March 2018.
GE was contracted to provide two GE 7HA.02 gas turbines and to upgrade the existing steam turbine island of the facility in December 2018.
Synapse Energy Economics was engaged to provide analysis for the site certification application for the modernisation project.
Big Bend power plant details
Big Bend power station is installed with four pulverised coal-fired steam units, which are also designed to operate on natural gas.
The Big Bend-1 was commissioned in 1970, while the units two, three, and four were added in 1973, 1976, and 1985, respectively.
The power station was further installed with a 60MW natural gas and fuel oil-fired peaking unit in 2009.
All four coal-fired units of the power station were fitted with flue gas desulfurisation systems (FGDS) between 1984 and 1999.
Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems and electrostatic precipitators were further installed for all the units in 2004, to control emissions.