Seminole Electric Cooperative Will Diversify Energy Sources to Continue Providing Safe, Affordable, Reliable Power
September 28, 2017
Long-term plan includes new gas-fired plant in Putnam County, purchased power agreements, additional solar resources and a reduced reliance on coal
TAMPA, Fla. – Seminole Electric Cooperative today announced a new long-range power supply plan to continue providing safe, affordable, reliable power to its nine Member not-for-profit distribution electric cooperatives. The plan will diversify Seminole’s portfolio of energy sources with purchased power agreements, construction of a new gas-fired generating plant, a reduced reliance on coal and additional solar resources.
“As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we have a duty to our Members to provide electricity in the most economical way,” said Seminole Board of Trustees President W.F. Hart. “We must also manage risks relating to the cost and availability of various sources of energy, and remain a financially strong and stable organization for our Members and employees. This plan helps us accomplish all of those goals.”
Seminole CEO and General Manager Lisa D. Johnson called the plan “a balanced approach that will let us generate power more competitively with natural gas, while managing the risk and unpredictability of potential future policy changes relating to carbon emissions associated with coal.”
Along with building the new plant on its Putnam County site, Seminole will remove one of its two coal-fired generating units at the Seminole Generating Station (SGS) on that site from service approximately five years from now.
“This was a difficult decision that was made only after a thoughtful planning process,” Johnson said. That process began with the Board in December 2015 and identified a need to secure additional power supply resources beginning in the 2021-22 time frame. “We, our employees and our community are proud of SGS and our leadership in environmental responsibility and sustainability in the U.S.,” said Johnson. “By continuing the operation of one unit, we maintain a valuable asset in our energy portfolio, while maintaining fuel diversity.”
The reduced reliance on coal will bring environmental benefits in the form of reduced carbon emissions as well as economic benefits, Johnson noted. “With continued stability in the natural gas markets at historically low prices, shifting a portion of our generation portfolio from coal to natural gas will enhance our ability to provide safe, affordable, reliable power to our Members,” she said.
As a result of this plan, Seminole expects some reduction in the total size of its workforce as technology advances in energy generation require fewer positions. “By removing one of the SGS units from service in approximately five years, our goal is to minimize the impact on our dedicated employees as well as the larger community,” said Johnson. “Through natural attrition, retirement and movement to other roles within Seminole over this five-year period, we can minimize the number of employees adversely affected. This plan will require change across the entire organization, and we are committed to helping our employees make this transition.”
Board President Hart noted that the new plan will create “a sustainable long-term presence for Seminole Electric Cooperative in Putnam County and Palatka, ensuring that we remain a significant business partner, employer and taxpayer in this community.”
The new gas-fired generating plant will be a combined cycle 2 on 1 facility providing approximately 1,050 megawatts of reliable electric generation. It is targeted for completion in late 2022. Seminole expects construction of the new plant to require on average 200 workers per month in Putnam County over approximately 33 months. At various times during the project, there may need to be 500 or more construction workers on-site.
In addition to building the new plant, Seminole will be entering into agreements to purchase power from other facilities, including both solar and natural gas-fired resources.
“Along with our Cooperative Solar project launched in August 2017, this plan further diversifies our mix of energy resources to provide predictability and manage risk,” said Johnson. “Ultimately this will help us meet our responsibilities to our Members, employees and the communities in which we operate as we move into the future.”
For more information visit, www.seminole-electric.com.
Based in Tampa, Florida, Seminole is one of the largest generation and transmission cooperatives in the country. Its mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced, wholesale electric power to its nine not-for-profit, consumer-owned distribution electric cooperatives. Seminole and its Members collectively serve 1.6 million individuals and businesses in 42 Florida counties.
Seminole Electric is an equal opportunity provider and employer.