Seminole Electric Reviewing EPA’s Clean Power Plan to Assess Impacts on its Coal-fired Facility
Tampa, Fla. – Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Seminole) CEO Lisa Johnson expressed both appreciation and concern today in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement and release of its final “Clean Power Plan.” The EPA’s regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically carbon dioxide emissions, takes aim at existing coal-fired power plants, including Seminole’s 1,300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired facility in Putnam County.
“As a not-for-profit electric cooperative, we are concerned that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could still result in a shift in Florida’s power generation, increasing electricity costs for rural electric cooperative consumers,” said Johnson. “We appreciate the EPA extending the interim goal from 2020 to 2022 and for the modifications the agency appears to have made to the Florida targets, but until we can study this lengthy, complicated rule in more detail, we will not know the full impact to Seminole or to the state.”
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is more than 1,500 pages, in addition to many supporting technical documents. By 2030, carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector must be 32 percent below 2005 levels, based on the Clean Power Plan –a nine percent increase over the proposed rule.
In 1978, the U.S. enacted the Power plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act, which restricted new power plants from using oil or natural gas and encouraged the use of coal. Seminole’s coal-fired facility came online in 1984. The Act was not repealed until 1987. Now the EPA, through the Clean Power Plan, intends to penalize consumers who buy power from electric utilities that burn coal. Seminole’s coal-fired facility has a remaining useful life through 2045.
Premature closure of Seminole’s coal plant would place unnecessary financial burdens on approximately 1.4 million consumers and businesses throughout Florida, including rural areas that are still recovering from the recession. Seminole has invested more than $530 million in environmental upgrades on its coal facility – making it one of the cleanest coal plants in the U.S.
“We should be seeking solutions for balanced, rational energy policy that protect our environment and natural resources without harming affordable, reliable power for our not-for-profit electric cooperatives,” said Johnson. Seminole believes it makes sense to have a diverse fuel mix for power generation that includes coal, natural gas, and renewable energy.
Seminole staff will be working diligently to assess the rule’s impacts on its coal-fired facility, including future resource requirements, and will work closely with state regulators to determine the most acceptable path forward regarding compliance.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fl., Seminole’s mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced, wholesale electric power to its nine Member distribution electric cooperatives – serving approximately 1.4 million consumers and business in 42 counties. Seminole owns and operates a 1,300-MW coal-fired power plant located in Putnam County, as well as an 810-MW natural gas-fired power plant located on the Polk/Hardee County border. Seminole also purchases energy from renewable energy facilities* .
* Seminole sells a portion of the renewable energy credits associated with its renewable generation to third parties. The third parties can use the credits to meet mandatory or voluntary renewable requirements.