Plant Crist in Florida renamed Gulf Clean Energy Center to mark transition from coal

Published on January 26, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

© Gulf Power

Plant Crist in Pensacola, Fla., has been renamed the Gulf Clean Energy Center to commemorate a new chapter as a cleaner generating plant.

Plant Crist had recently been converted from coal to natural gas. The conversion is part of the recently merged Florida Power & Lightʻs and Gulf Power’s commitment to cleaner energy, long-term reliability, and lower costs for customers.

“Plant Crist has been a powerful force in our region for 75 years, generating power that has supported our communities and sustained economic growth across the Panhandle,” Marlene Santos, Gulf Power president, said. “We’re honored to be able to continue that legacy by modernizing the plant to be able to continue to serve Northwest Florida as Gulf Clean Energy Center, delivering greater reliability, lower operating costs, and cleaner emissions as we meet the ever-increasing energy needs of our customers well into the future.”

The modernization involves converting coal-burning units to run on natural gas and adding four new combustion turbines to provide greater reliability and efficiency for the energy grid. There will also be a new natural gas pipeline to provide additional natural gas for the plant. Gulf Clean Energy Center carbon emission rates will be reduced by 40 percent by converting from coal.  It will also reduce operating costs for customers.

The modernization projects provide economic benefits to Escambia County, with approximately $125 million in additional tax revenues expected over the projects’ operating life.

“As part of FPL, the largest generator of solar in Florida and one of the largest in the nation, we are continuing the company’s clean energy legacy by transforming the way that we generate power for Northwest Florida,” Santos said.

Gulf Power is committed to providing clean, reliable energy and lowering costs for our customers while enhancing the electric grid’s reliability. The reopening of the Gulf Clean Energy Center as a natural gas power plant is a key milestone in Gulf Power’s clean energy future.

Northwest Florida’s solar expansion includes Blue Indigo Solar Energy Center in Jackson County. Further, construction will begin on two more solar energy centers this spring, the Cotton Creek Solar Energy Center in Escambia County and the Blue Springs Solar Energy Center in Jackson County.

In addition, solar farms are underway in First City Solar Energy Center in North Escambia County; Blackwater River Solar Energy Center in Santa Rosa County; Chautauqua Solar Energy Center in Walton County; Chipola River Solar Energy Center and Flowers Creek Solar Energy Center in Calhoun County; and Apalachee Solar Energy Center in Jackson County.