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OUC Board Of Commissioners Approves Retirement Of Coal-Fired Unit

The Board of Commissioners for Florida public power utility Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) on Dec. 14 formally approved the retirement of Stanton Energy Center’s (SEC) Unit 1 by no later than 2025 and the conversion of SEC’s Unit 2 to natural gas by no later than 2027.

Previously, Unit 1, OUC’s oldest coal-fired power plant, had been slated for conversion to natural gas.

The official adoption by the Board of Commissioners “is further proof of our commitment to meet our goal of Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050 with interim targets of 50% by 2030 and 75% in 2040,” said Clint Bullock, OUC General Manager and CEO, in a statement. “The retirement of Unit 1 also is a significant milestone toward fully eliminating coal-fired generation no later than 2027. As we continue our transition to clean energy, operational flexibility is key to maintaining the reliability, resiliency and affordability our customers expect.”

The retirement of Unit 1 became possible with the recent purchase of the Osceola Generating Station, a 510-megawatt (MW) simple-cycle natural gas-fired power plant located in Harmony in Osceola County, Fla.

OUC said that as it aggressively increases its reliance on solar energy, OSG will be used to mitigate solar production fluctuations to maintain system-wide electric reliability. Currently, the facility is undergoing renovations and testing and will be fully operational by no later than 2025.

In December 2020, OUC leadership recommended significantly reducing the use of coal by no later than 2025 and eliminating it entirely by no later than 2027. The announcement was the result of the utility’s Electric Integrated Resource Plan.

OUC said that it is on its way to meeting its strategic objectives, which include continued investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency and driving the adoption of vehicle electrification and energy storage.