Demolition contractor to begin work tearing down coal-fired power plant that was shut down last year.
The Cedar Bay coal-fired power plant could be dismantled by early 2019, according to a building-permit application filed with the city.
East Aurora, New York-based demolition contractor DEMCO Inc. filed the application for $450,000 worth of work to begin tearing down the plant at 9640 Eastport Road in North Jacksonville
A timeline for the project shows a 440-day schedule, placing the completion date around March 1, 2019.
Florida Power & Light spokesman David McDermitt could not provide a total cost for the demolition, but said the utility will pay essentially nothing for the cleanup.
“After the contractor performs the demolition, they then sell the material for reprocessing, recouping their costs,” said McDermitt.
According to a description of the demolition process, DEMCO will need to remove any hazardous material like residual chemicals, acids and oils before the main structures are taken down.
From there, DEMCO plans to demolish most of the infrastructure including boilers, cooling towers, silos, turbines and other equipment beginning in late August and continuing through all of 2018.
The work begins with DEMCO dismantling the three boiler structures in the center of the plant using torches to cut them in pieces for removal.
Next, Controlled Demolition Inc. will use explosives to take down the plant’s 425-foot tall stack as well as the site’s ash silos. The debris from the blasts will be used to backfill the site after the demolition is complete.
By the end of 2018, DEMCO estimates it will be removing the turbine building and equipment.
The utility would begin restoring and backfilling the remaining land during the last phase, which is scheduled to wrap up in early 2019.
Not all the structures will be immediately removed, however, including a water treatment facility and administration building.
Since 1994, Cedar Bay Generating Co, which is owned by CBAS Power Inc., provided energy to Florida Power & Light through a power purchase agreement slated to expire in December 2024.
The utility paid about $120 million annually to Cedar Bay for access to that energy, and for Cedar Bay to operate and maintain the facility, a cost it claimed increased year over year.
In August 2015, the Florida Public Service Commission approved Florida Power & Light to purchase the 250-megawatt plant from CBAS Power Holdings LLC for $520.5 million in advance of phasing out the coal-fired plant entirely.
McDermitt said the sale “saved our customers upwards of $70 million, while closing the facility reduced carbon emissions by about 1 million tons annually.”
After the sale, the utility revealed it would retire the plan by December 2016, with the notion it would dismantle the facility in the coming years.
McDermitt said the company has an ongoing mission to phase out this and other coal-fired plants because they are no longer economically viable compared to natural gas and solar options.
“By modernizing oil- and coal-fueled power generation systems and replacing them with cleaner, highly efficient natural gas systems, we have been able to save our customers a lot of money,” he said.
He said there were no plans for the site’s future use yet.
The Cedar Bay closure is one of three decommissioning projects Florida Power & Light is pursuing at the moment.
In May, the utility announced it was petitioning the Florida Public Service Commission to close St. Johns River Power Park, a coal-fired plant it co-owns with JEA in North Jacksonville.
Florida Power & Light owns 20 percent of the 1,300-megawatt plant built in 1981. It has a long-term agreement with JEA to split operating expenses and power output from it.
McDermitt said a decision is expected later this year.
The utility company also is planning to shutter the Indiantown Cogeneration plant in Martin County by the end of 2019.
McDermitt said Florida Power & Light is adding 600 megawatts worth of new solar energy to its Florida operation, with the construction of eight solar power facilities by 2018.
He said two facilities, serving Putnam and Alachua counties, should be open at the end of the year.
Florida Power & Light is owned by Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc., which claims to be the third largest electric utility in the United States.
The utility serves more than 4.8 million accounts
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