Last week during the City of Kissimmee School of Government Class, students experienced an electrifying tour through Kissimmee Utility Authority‘s Cane Island Power Park. Students stepped off the bus, put on their KUA hard hats and were able to witness the extreme power behind Kissimmee’s leading source of electricity.
Cane Island Power Park is located on 170 acres surrounded by nearly 1, 000 acres of protected wetland, making it a true partnership with the environment. The southern portion of the Cane Island property is inhabited by one of Florida’s largest concentration of gopher tortoises.
Burning clean natural gas as the primary fuel, the power plant is capable of producing 710 megawatts of electricity or enough to power approximately 639,000 homes.
The Cane Island plant serves the power needs of Kissimmee and 11 other Florida cities through the Florida Municipal Power Agency:
- Fort Meade
- Fort Pierce
- Green Cove Springs
- Jacksonville Beach
- Key West
Students of the City of Kissimmee School of Government learned that Kissimmee’s Cane Island Power Park is a mixture of modern gas and steam turbine technology. Unit 1 is simple cycle combustion turbine (actually a jet engine) that is primarily used for peaking. Units 2, 3 and 4 are combined-cycle units. A combined-cycle power plant uses both a gas and a steam turbine together to produce up to 50 percent more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple-cycle plant. The waste heat from the gas turbine is routed to the nearby steam turbine, which generates extra power.
“Making electricity is interesting business. We like to share the experience whenever possible because we believe it’s important for our customers to know how their electricity is produced.”
What’s Generating for KUA in the Future?
Approximately 900,000 solar panels will be installed on the three solar farms to be built in Osceola and Orange counties as part of the project. Imagine 900 football fields filled with solar panels. That’s the size of these three solar sites combined or approximately 1,200 total acres. The solar panels will be installed on a racking system that utilizes single-axis tracking technology, which means a computer-controlled motor will move the panel to track the sun as it moves from east to west, maximizing the panel’s power output.
The construction on this project is expected to begin in early 2020 and should be operational by June 30, 2020.
Kissimmee Utility Authority owns, operates and manages the municipal electric system, which was established by the City of Kissimmee in 1901. Compared to the other municipally-owned electric utilities, KUA is the sixth largest utility in Florida.
Feature photo credit: Kissimmee Utility Authority