OUC wants to end coal-fired generation by 2027; be carbon neutral by 2050

Today, management at Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) released its recommendation to reduce the use of coal by 2025 and eliminate its use by 2027. The result of the utility’s Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP) process supports its strategic plan for Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050, as well as interim targets of 50% CO2 emissions reduction by 2030 and 75% by 2040 (based on 2005 data). Using solar as the main source of new energy, OUC will also invest in energy storage and other clean technologies to ensure reliability and resiliency are maintained.

The OUC advisory council – a 12-member, independent group representing Orange County, the City of Orlando and the City of St. Cloud – said it gathered input from multiple community forums and a four-month-long online survey period that ranked four key attributes – Affordability, Reliability, Resiliency and Sustainability – and determined how they should be weighted when scoring potential energy portfolios.

The recommendation strikes a balance, allowing achievement of OUC’s goal of Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050, while directionally aligning with City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s 2017 aspirational proclamation to achieve 100% renewable energy generation by 2050.

Specifically, OUC will:

End coal-fired generation. The plan calls for significantly reducing coal-fired generation no later than 2025 and eliminating it no later than 2027, using coal-to-natural gas conversion as a technology bridge. Both converted units will ultimately be retired no later than 2040.

Accelerate solar and energy storage as primary strategies. To allow for the acceleration of these resources and overcome the challenges of cloud cover and partly sunny days, energy storage technologies will be used to maintain reliability. OUC will continue to monitor cost and performance developments for new and existing clean technologies, such as hydrogen and small modular reactors.

Leverage future clean technologies to ensure diversity for reliability. The recommendation provides a roadmap to diversify the utility’s generation by incorporating new technologies that could reduce dependency on solar and storage.

Strive to maintain competitive rates for customers while achieving strategic goals. Advancements of this magnitude require significant investments. However, the recommendation delivers the best value.

“For nearly a century, OUC has provided reliable, affordable essential electric and water services to our customers,” said Clint Bullock, General Manager & CEO. “As we evolve to deliver clean energy and value to our customers, we’ve made significant investments in innovative, sustainable solutions. This EIRP energy roadmap – which is the result of a comprehensive, sophisticated analysis – will allow us to meet the critical Net Zero CO2 Emissions by 2050 goal, as well as interim targets of 50% CO2 emissions reduction by 2030 and 75% by 2040 as we move toward a cleaner, greener future.”

OUC is holding a public workshop on November 17, 2020 at 2 p.m., to further discuss this process and its results. For a list of locations and to RSVP for this workshop, visit OUCRoadmap.com.

The results of the EIRP will be approved by the Board at a later date. In the future, EIRPs will be considered every five years moving forward as technology and economic conditions change.

Siemens PTI supported the development of the EIRP and evaluated the list of energy portfolio options for the utility to consider. Essence Partners led the strategy for stakeholder engagement and facilitated that process.

Renewables, Energy Storage and How Utilities are Preparing for a Sustainable Future” is the focus of the October DISTRIBUTECH+ virtual event. Learn about the event here and REGISTER to see the full agenda. It’s free!

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