Lakeland Electric says issues at Florida power plant are workable

A spokesperson for Lakeland Electric in Florida told GenerationHub March 25 that the problems facing Unit 3 at the McIntosh power plant are fixable and the plant should be back in operation later this spring.

The plant is currently in a planned outage that is expected to last several more weeks, Lakeland spokesperson Cindy Clemmons said.

“Our leadership, led by our General Manger, Joel Ivy, is very optimistic that we can successfully solve this issue,” the spokesperson said. “First and foremost, safety of our workers is the primary focus. Second to that is the cost to solve the issue.”

There is not yet a cost estimate for the repairs, Clemmons added.

The Florida municipal utility acknowledged the problems in a March 22 news release posted to the Lakeland website. The recently-discovered problems concern how switchgears and other equipment might respond under “emergency’ events.

Sargent & Lundy did a 2015 evaluation at the plant that helped identify the issues there.

There is no elevated risk of explosion. “This concern has existed for 34 years with no incident. The only difference now is we are aware that it is an engineering concern that needs mitigated,” Clemmons said.

“Our engineers and other production employees are currently looking at various options to mitigate and solve the issue. We do not have a cost yet,” Clemmons said.

The entire McIntosh power plant is a 990-MW facility with various generating units that can burn coal along with natural gas, oil, and fuel oil. Unit 3 is a 364 MW coal unit.

The plant is owned 60 percent Lakeland Electric and 40 percent Orlando Utilities Commission.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 22 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants.

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