Changes are coming to Tampa Electric's coal-fired Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach.
As part of their “Big Bend project," TECO will spend $853 million to convert one of its coal units, Unit 1, to use natural gas. Another coal unit, Unit 2, will be shut down in 2021.
Cherie Jacobs, a spokeswoman for TECO, said this move is part of the companies move away from coal by 2023.
"This Tampa Electric project is part of our strategy to reduce our carbon footprint," said Jacobs.
The company said the project will also improve the land, water and air emissions at the Apollo Beach station.
TECO is already planning to build ten solar plants across Tampa Bay by 2021. One solar plant in East Pasco County near Dade City has already being constructed. The Pasco Planning Commission approved the plan for the farm last month.
When Big Bend project is complete in 2023, TECO will cut its reliance on coal in half. About 75 percent of the energy it generates willcome from natural gas and seven percent from solar. An additional 12 percent will still be generated by burning coal.
It is not known how much the rennovations will cost customers. Jocobs said the company will seek reimbursement after the rennovations.
The closing of Unit 2 comes almost a year after five workers were killed on the unit while doing maintenance in June 2017. Jacobs said safety concerns stemming from the incident were not part of the reason for closing the unit.