Big Bend Power Station
|Big Bend Power Station|
Big Bend Power Station
|Location||Apollo Beach, Florida|
last unit: 1985
|Thermal power station|
|Primary fuel||Bituminous coal|
|Secondary fuel||Distillate fuel oil|
|Nameplate capacity||1,730 MW|
Big Bend Power Station is a major coal-fired power plant, located across Tampa Bay from Tampa, Florida on nearly 1,500 acres (6 km2) in southeastern Hillsborough County, close to Apollo Beach. It is owned and operated by TECO Energy. Three similar units (each 445.5 MWe nameplate capacity) were launched in the early 1970s, followed by a newer 486-MWe unit 4 in 1985.
The scrubber for Unit 4 began operation in 1984, and since 1995, has simultaneously scrubbed Unit 3 as well. The scrubber for Units 1 and 2 began operation at the end of 1999. According to TECO Energy, the scrubber system removes 95% of sulfur dioxide from all four units.
During the winter months, warm-water outfalls from the station draw dozens of West Indian manatees, an endangered species, to the immediate vicinity of the plant. In 1986, TECO set aside a manatee viewing area which is accessible to the public.
Upgrade to Big Bend Unit 1 and retirement of Unit 2
In 2018, Tampa Electric announced several major upgrades for Big Bend Power Station. The company plans to modernize Unit 1 to use natural gas combined-cycle technology by 2023, a project that will enable the unit to generate 1,090 MW while eliminating coal as a fuel source. Big Bend Unit 2 will be retired in 2021 after nearly 50 years of service. This upgrade will give Tampa Electric a generation portfolio in 2023 of 75 percent natural gas, 12 percent coal, about 7 percent solar, and about 6 percent other sources. The clean, warm-water discharge at the station that provides a sanctuary for manatees at the adjacent Manatee Viewing Center will remain.
Directly to the southeast of Big Bend Power Station, Tampa Electric’s 23 MW photovoltaic array features more than 200,000 thin-film solar panels. Built on 106 acres of company-owned land, the solar array was the largest of its kind in the Tampa Bay area when it was completed in 2017. This is part of the company’s large-scale solar power initiative that calls for a total of 600 MW of new solar power to be operational at photovoltaic sites around the Tampa Bay area by 2023.
On June 29, 2017, molten slag from a coal boiler killed 5 and injured 1.
- "Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2008" (Excel). Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 2008. Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Can manatees survive without warm waters from power plants?", Tampa Tribune (tbo.com), Jan. 7, 2011.
- Tampa Electric - Manatee Viewing Center
- McGrory, Kathleen (2017-12-28). "OSHA: Tampa Electric ignored its own rules in accident that killed 5 workers". Tampa Bay Times. Tampa. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
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