Tampa Electric Completes 10-Year, $1.2 B Air Quality Investment

Tampa Electric has installed a state-of-the-art selective catalytic reduction (SCR) equipment at the company’s Big Bend Power Station Unit 1. This is the last of four units to receive the new equipment, which is designed to further reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions at the plant.

The Unit 4 SCR was completed in June 2007, Unit 3 was completed in May 2008 and Unit 2 was completed in May 2009.

“The completion of the SCR project is the final component of our 10-year environmental improvement plan that defines Tampa Electric as an industry leader in our commitment to sustainability,” said President Gordon Gillette.

The massive project was particularly complex in that it had to be installed while Big Bend’s other units continued to operate. Gillette said he is particularly proud of the SCR project team’s outstanding safety record: zero lost-time accidents in more than 3 million man-hours worked. The project created more than 1,500 jobs during the six years of planning, engineering and construction.

The project was the centerpiece of the company’s 1999 agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to dramatically reduce overall emissions.

As part of the environmental improvement program, the company also repowered the nearly 50-year-old coal-burning Gannon Power Station to natural gas in 2003 and 2004, creating the H.L. Culbreath Bayside Power Station.

SCR in a coal-fired power plant works much like an automobile’s catalytic converter. At a power plant with SCR equipment, NOx emissions pass through a catalyst and react with ammonia, converting the NOx into elemental nitrogen and water.

The completion of the improvement program should result in the annual reduction of sulfur dioxide, NOx and particulate matter emissions by 88 percent, 90 percent and 71 percent, respectively, below 1998 levels. The company also reduced overall mercury emissions by more than 75 percent. The 10-year program also has lowered emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas most targeted as contributing to global warming, by 25 percent since 1998.

In March, Tampa Electric filed for approval from the Florida Public Service Commission to expand the company’s lineup of energy-efficiency programs for customers. In addition to the proposed programs and enhancements to existing programs, $1.5 million in incentives will be offered by Tampa Electric each year for five years to help customers install renewable technologies, such as photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and solar water heating.

Tampa Electric Company is the principal subsidiary of TECO Energy, Inc., an integrated energy-related holding company, with regulated utility businesses, complemented by a family of unregulated businesses.