JEA and Florida Power & Light have agreed to terms to decommission the St. Johns River Power Park, the large, coal-fired generating plant located off Heckscher Drive in early 2018.
The plant is jointly owned by the two utilities. JEA owns 80 percent and FPL owns 20 percent of the plant, which was the largest construction project in Jacksonville's history when it was built in the early 1980s.
JEA said it has excess generating capacity due primarily to effective conservation methods used by JEA customers. As a result,SJRPP produced half as much energy last year as it did 10 years ago. Retirement of the facility will result in significant annual cost savings that can be directed to debt reduction and important capital projects that will benefit JEA’s customers. JEA’s carbon footprint will be decreased by 30 percent and its nitrogen to the St. Johns River reduced as a result of plant retirement.
SJRPP employs 204 people. All employees will be offered employment opportunities for open positions at JEA as well as the opportunity to apply for positions at FPL. Additionally, separation benefit packages and professional outplacement services will be provided for displaced employees, officials said.
"This agreement is important for JEA and will allow us to right-size our power generation capabilities while offering, significant environmental benefits to the community,” said JEA CEO Paul McElroy. “The operational savings we will realize will help us address capital needs and pay down debt to keep rates stable.
"We regret that this move will result in job displacements for many dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled employees. Our team is fully committed to helping them by providing outplacement and training services, as well as a separation benefit package that reflects their years of service and dedication.”
The proposed agreement requires final approval from JEA’s board of directors and other regulatory agencies.