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Air Quality

Innovating for a low-carbon world

Tampa Electric is one of the cleanest utilities with coal-fired generation in the nation. We continue to outperform the U.S. electric sector in carbon emissions reductions – a direct result of our early action. Since 1998, we have reduced our carbon emissions by 20 percent and we continue early action on greenhouse gas emissions by:

  • Partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy on a carbon-capture demonstration project at Polk Power Station Unit 1. This will allow the company to explore the viability of carbon-capture to meet greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Investing in Tampa Electric's largest renewable energy project – the 25 megawatt-DC solar array on company owned land at our Big Bend Power Station – and Tampa Electric's first large-scale solar array, the 2 megawatt-DC array at Tampa International Airport.
  • Replacing cast-iron and bare steel pipe in Peoples Gas' distribution system, which reduces fugitive methane emissions, a greenhouse gas.
  • Replacing Big Bend's oil-fired startup system with a cleaner and less carbon-intensive natural gas system, reducing Big Bend's carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Replacing Polk Power Station's oil-fired startup and backup systems with a cleaner and less carbon-intensive natural gas system, reducing Unit 1's carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent.

Tampa Electric has become one of the cleanest coal-using utilities in the nation. In 2010, we completed massive repowering and retrofit projects as part of our 10-year, $1.2 billion environmental improvement plan signed in 1999 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Through these endeavors, the company:

  • Shut down our 50-year-old coal-fired Gannon Power Station and built the natural gas-fired H.L. Culbreath Bayside Power Station in 2003 and 2004.
  • Optimized flue gas desulfurization (scrubbers) and electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) at our Big Bend Power Station to further reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM) on all four coal-fired units.
  • Installed selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from all four coal-fired units at Big Bend.

These projects have resulted in significant reductions in emissions. Since 1998, Tampa Electric has reduced annual SO2, NOx and PM emissions from its facilities by 165,000 tons, 64,000 tons, and 4,700 tons, respectively.

Air Auality

Over the same time frame, Tampa Electric reduced its systemwide emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by more than 20 percent below 1998 levels. Subject to additional testing and evaluation, we expect to be in compliance with the EPA's proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) without adding significant control equipment.

The company's other coal-fired facility, Polk Power Station Unit 1, is a clean-coal integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) unit, producing more electricity from environmentally friendly coal-derived synthesis gas. Polk Unit 1 was named the cleanest coal-fired power plant in North America, and the plant hosts visitors from around the world.

Though Tampa Electric's production of electricity has grown over time to meet customer demand, the overall emissions reduction levels for SO2 and NOx have decreased.

Because of Tampa Electric's early actions, we've reduced CO2 emissions by 5 million tons from 1998 levels each year.

That's equivalent to:

  • Annual greenhouse gas emissions from 870,000 passenger vehicles.
  • CO2 emissions from 500 million gallons of gasoline consumed.
  • Carbon sequestered by 117 million tree seedlings grown for 10 years.
  • Carbon sequestered annually by 1 million acres of pine or fir forests.
  • Carbon sequestered annually by 30,000 acres of forest preserved from deforestation.

Emissions reductions improve our environment

As a result of our commitment to emissions reductions:

  • A 5-year study of airborne particulate matter in a community adjacent to Big Bend showed concentrations below the national standard and trending downward.
  • The Tampa Bay Estuary Program credited Tampa Electric's nitrogen oxide reduction with helping to reduce algae blooms in Tampa Bay, revitalize sea grasses and improve the bay's health.
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