The battle for the future of coal-fired power is heating up. Recent developments give IGCC a fighting chance.
Michael T. Burr is Public Utilities Fortnightly’s editor-at-large. Contact him at email@example.com.
Florida is growing—fast. If trends continue as expected, the state’s population could increase by one-third in the next 10 years, putting stress on virtually all public services in the state, from roads to water systems … and, of course, energy infrastructure.
The state predicts power consumption will increase by 58 percent in the next 15 years. Even with increasing contributions from conservation and renewable energy projects, Florida utilities need to add several large power plants in the next 10 years to keep up with electricity demand.
One of those power plants is being developed by a group of four municipal and public-power utilities, led by Florida Municipal Power Agency and Jacksonville Electric Association (JEA). The fuel choice for this 800-MW project almost was inevitable: Like most of the new base-load power plants being developed in the United States today, the North Florida Power Project will burn coal.
“Considering what’s happened with natural gas, coal is the more attractive option,” says Gregg Quick, director of corporate planning for JEA. “Coal is a domestic, abundant resource. It is more dependable than natural gas, and it is cheaper.”