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JEA cuts deal to shutter Georgia coal-fired power plant

File photo
File photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA’s Board of Directors on Friday signed off on a plan to close a coal-fired power plant in Georgia as part of an effort to shift to cleaner sources of energy.

The city-owned utility and Florida Power & Light have jointly owned Plant Scherer, Unit 4, an 848-megawatt plant in Macon operated by the Georgia Power Company, since 1989.

Also Friday, JEA committed to a 20-year power purchase agreement with FPL, which is meant to lower the utility’s operating costs and lower carbon dioxide emissions by roughly 1.3 million tons a year. The utility expects the move to clear the way for a “significant expansion of solar energy in the near future,” according to a news release.

“This has been a successful mutually beneficial partnership and is just one of such joint asset ownership and operating agreements between JEA and FPL, including the St. Johns River Power Park and 500kv transmission lines,” JEA’s interim CEO Paul McElroy said in a prepared statement.  “While the past several years have presented challenges and difficult circumstances, with the JEA sale process over and behind us, the time is right to focus on future operating partnerships. We continue to create value for both utilities and extend our strong operating relationship with FPL.” 

The deal is expected to take effect no later than Jan. 1, 2022.

As News4Jax previously reported, JEA remains on the hook for a financial commitment of nearly $3 billion for Plant Vogtle, a power plant located in Waynesboro, Georgia, that remains under construction. The utility tried unsuccessfully to back out of the 20-year power purchase agreement as the project has fallen behind schedule and costs have skyrocketed.