Big Bend Power Station

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Big Bend Power Station
Big Bend Power Station.jpg
Big Bend Power Station
Location of the Big Bend Power Station in Florida
CountryUnited States
LocationApollo Beach, Florida
Coordinates27°47′45″N 82°24′13″W / 27.79583°N 82.40361°W / 27.79583; -82.40361Coordinates: 27°47′45″N 82°24′13″W / 27.79583°N 82.40361°W / 27.79583; -82.40361
Commission date1969,
last unit: 1985
Owner(s)TECO Energy
Thermal power station
Primary fuelBituminous coal
Secondary fuelDistillate fuel oil
Power generation
Nameplate capacity1,892 MW [1]
External links
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Big Bend Power Station is a major coal-fired power plant, located across Tampa Bay from Tampa, Florida, USA, 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.[2]

Flue-gas desulfurization[edit]

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.[3] In 1986, TECO set aside a manatee viewing area which is accessible to the public.[4]

Upgrade to Big Bend Unit 1 and retirement of Unit 2[edit]

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.

Solar power[edit]

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 29 June 2017, molten slag from a coal boiler killed 5 and injured 1. Safety rules were ignored as they tried to clear a blockage. The blockage burst and rained down molten slag upon them.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Big Bend Power Station". Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  2. ^ "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 22 August 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Can manatees survive without warm waters from power plants?", Tampa Tribune, 7 January 2011.
  4. ^ Tampa Electric - Manatee Viewing Center
  5. ^ McGrory, Kathleen (28 December 2017). "OSHA: Tampa Electric ignored its own rules in accident that killed 5 workers". Tampa Bay Times. Tampa. Retrieved 4 May 2018.

External links[edit]