Gulf Power Switches Plant Crist To Natural Gas Delivered Through North Escambia Pipeline, Ending Coal Use

January 14, 2021

Gulf Power’s Plant Crist is now running 100% on natural gas delivered by a pipeline through North Escambia.

Gulf Power, a division Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), ceased coal-fired power generation at its Plant Crist in Escambia County. The plant modernization, which FPL initiated immediately after purchasing Gulf Power from the Southern Company, includes a conversion to run entirely on American-produced, cleaner natural gas – cutting the plant’s carbon emissions rate by 40% and marking the end of Gulf Power’s use of coal to generate energy in Florida.

Converting coal-burning units to run on natural gas was a major piece of the modernization underway at Plant Crist, along with the addition of four new, highly efficient combustion turbines to provide greater reliability and efficiency for the energy grid and a new natural gas pipeline to provide additional natural gas for the plant.

Over the past several months, Gulf Power has installed an underground natural gas pipeline that runs 39 miles from the Florida Gas Transmission Pipeline near Century, through McDavid, Molino and Cantonment, to the company’s Plant Crist.

The retirement of coal at Plant Crist was accelerated by Hurricane Sally, which caused damage to the plant’s coal equipment. The company determined that it is in the best interests of its customers to accelerate the modernization instead of repairing the coal equipment.

Pictured top: Bright yellow new pipes threaded throughout the inside and outside of Plant Crist this year are the visible signs of the coal to natural gas conversion that will allow the plant to run 100% on U.S. produced natural gas. Pictured inset: A crane hoists one of the larger pieces of new equipment at Plant Crist, a gas heater, into place at the Plant Crist gas yard as part of the coal to natural gas conversion. The heater will warm the natural gas to keep it from freezing in the pressure control valves that send the gas from the pipeline to the power plant. Courtesy photos for, click to enlarge.


16 Responses to “Gulf Power Switches Plant Crist To Natural Gas Delivered Through North Escambia Pipeline, Ending Coal Use”

  1. Just another thiught on January 15th, 2021 2:14 pm

    The big problem with it running on natural gas is if the line gets broken or if it did leak and exploded. Well we all know what that means. No lights will be on. Except the ones that will get power from the new solar farm. As far As our bills go they already are some of the highest.

  2. Inigo Montoya on January 15th, 2021 12:19 pm

    Can some of this gas be diverted to Century? ;-)

  3. mnon on January 15th, 2021 3:12 am

    Wasn’t there an article recently that our power bill is going up… Now it all makes sense.

  4. BT on January 14th, 2021 6:46 pm

    Goodness, so much negativity here.

    I will shed no tear for the coal industry. It’s a dirty fuel that causes tremendous environmental damage. Of course the evil liberals want to end fracking, coal, and as much of the fossil fuel industry as possible. Not immediately, but as reasonable alternatives are available. Alternative power sources are almost within reach economically.

    I would like my children and grandchildren to inherit a planet where they can hunt, fish, and breathe.

  5. Jerry Rudd on January 14th, 2021 4:58 pm

    Liberals and tree huggers are determined to kill the coal industry!!!

  6. roger rockwell on January 14th, 2021 12:56 pm

    This is really bad news. Our electric bill is going to double. Coal is our friend. No more happy meals..

  7. Some Guy on January 14th, 2021 12:10 pm

    Just a couple of comments. Natural gas was 92 cents per thousand cubic feet in 1984. It’s 2.681 dollars today. Very stable commodity. It’s not gonna “skyrocket”. It is not price regulated by the government, (i.e. order 636) It’s a high pressure gas line with one end user, so, no mercaptan. None of it is “fracked” gas. Vast vast majority of it comes in through Coden Alabama and Pascagoula MS from offshore the transported to pipelines feeding Florida. Pipelines that have been there since 1958, 1966, 1993 and 2010. If you want to know more about what’s under your feet, every pipe marker has contact information. Contact them and ask for information. Don’t believe rumors and other stuff, go to the source.

  8. Chuck on January 14th, 2021 10:07 am

    The natural gas in this gas pipeline has no odorant (mercaptan) added to it. Companies can avoid the added cost of adding it to natural gas in some pipelines if the pipeline runs unobstructed from its source (Century FL) to the utility where it is being utilized (Plant Crist) as long as there are no offshoots feeding businesses or residences. Mercaptan is the chemical added to natural gas to give it that “rotten egg” smell that we all immediately recognize when turning on the gas grill. Most natural gas leaks (about 70%) are reported by the public, which should make one think: How are residents along this potentially highly explosive hazard supposed to know if there’s a leak and call 911 if they can’t smell the gas? Many residents (and the number is growing) think Gulf Power in the interest of public safety should a least post signs (next to their “Call Before You Dig” signs) that a potential natural gas leak will have no “Rotten Egg Smell”. While talking to a neighbor the other day, she made the comment “at least if there’s a leak-we will smell that awful smell and know to call 911”- I replied “no you want”.

  9. Mike J. on January 14th, 2021 9:22 am

    @Alan (6:19am), the article states that the coal equipment was damaged during the hurricane and GP decided to switch to NG instead of repairing the coal equipment. To me that implies that the coal equipment is not going to be repaired.

  10. Epic on January 14th, 2021 8:47 am

    Epic for Escambia and Santa Rosa!

  11. Wes on January 14th, 2021 8:46 am

    This doesn’t mention the massive reduction in manpower that will take place due to the conversion. Nor does it emphasize how the multi million dollar scrubber that was installed is no longer needed, but is still being paid for by the customers.

    2 things I hope for 1:the price of natural gas does not skyrocket in the future. 2: the men and women that will be released from their duties can find a new career with comparable opportunities for income and benefits.

  12. DJ on January 14th, 2021 8:27 am

    When the democrats end fracking natural gas prices will soar, and so will your electric bill.

  13. Mic Hall on January 14th, 2021 7:51 am

    The price of Natural Gas is low because it is an extra byproduct of fracking. Texas companies burn it off because they can not give it away. They are working on more gas pipelines to collect it instead.

    Of course our new administration has said they will end fracking. After that expect the price to jump. But they also want all power plants based on fossil fuel to be shut down. Yea! I guess it will no longer be just California that will have 3rd world country level power delivery. Expecting brownouts in the next few years.

  14. bill m on January 14th, 2021 7:39 am

    The air quality around here should improve now. This is good news.

  15. Alan on January 14th, 2021 6:19 am

    While I applaud Gulf Power”s installation of the new pipeline allowing the Crist plant to run all units on Natural Gas simultaneously, it seems a little disingenuous to state the gas is American produced and not mention, so was the coal.

    Will the plant retain the ability to burn coal in the future if it so desires or will GP be removing that hardware in the near future?

  16. Alan on January 14th, 2021 12:38 am

    So, no more coal barges in the Bay. It’s my understanding that right now the price of Natural Gas is regulated. Wait till it’s no longer regulated. Our bills will skyrocket! This may be a feel good moment for environmentalist, but for the consumer, you are screwed again.

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