Jacksonville, Florida-based public power utility JEA and Florida Power & Light Co., a subsidiary of investor-owned utility NextEra Energy, have agreed to terms to decommission the St. Johns River Power Park, a 1,252-MW coal-fired electric generating plant, in early 2018, JEA said on March 17 and as reported by Public Power Daily.
The plant is owned jointly by JEA and Florida Power & Light. JEA owns 80 percent of the plant, while Florida Power & Light owns the remaining 20 percent. The plant is located on a 1,600-acre site in the northeast section of Jacksonville, Florida.
JEA noted that it has excess generating capacity due primarily to effective conservation methods used by JEA customers.
As a result, last year the power plant produced half as much energy as it did 10 years ago. Retirement of the facility will result in significant annual cost savings that can be directed to debt reduction and important capital projects that will benefit JEA’s customers, JEA noted.
In addition, JEA’s carbon footprint will be decreased by 30 percent and its nitrogen to the St. Johns River will be reduced as a result of the plant retirement.
When the St. Johns River Power Park was built in the early 1980s it represented the largest construction project in Jacksonville’s history. It has reliably served JEA and Florida Power & Light customers for 30 years, JEA said.
“This agreement is important for JEA and will allow us to right-size our power generation capabilities while offering, significant environmental benefits to the community,” said JEA CEO Paul McElroy. “The operational savings we will realize will help us address capital needs and pay down debt to keep rates stable,” he said.
“We regret that this move will result in job displacements for many dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled employees,” McElroy said. “Our team is fully committed to helping them by providing outplacement and training services, as well as a separation benefit package that reflects their years of service and dedication.”
St. Johns River Power Park currently employs 204 people. All employees will be offered employment opportunities for open positions at JEA as well as the opportunity to apply for positions at Florida Power & Light.
Additionally, separation benefit packages and professional outplacement services will be provided for displaced employees.
The proposed agreement requires final approval from JEA’s Board of Directors and regulatory agencies.