Saturday Implosion Of Iconic Twin Cooling Towers A Sign Of JEA's Changing Power Supply

Jun 15, 2018

The iconic twin cooling towers next to the Dames Point Bridge at the St. Johns River Power Park’s (SJRPP) are scheduled to be imploded Saturday morning with 1,500 pounds of dynamite.

JEA Spokeswoman, Gerri Boyce said the main concern for the implosion is spectator safety.

“While there is not a general viewing area, there are plenty of ways to watch the implosion that’ll last about 12 seconds.”

She recommends finding a parking lot somewhere and getting there early.

She said, “Rain or shine, it will take place.”

The big show is scheduled for Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

The plant was shut down back in January, decreasing Jacksonville’s carbon footprint by 30 percent.

Boyce said the power park, that has been jointly owned by JEA and Florida Power and Light since 1988, provided 17 percent of the energy capacity for the city.

She said the utility will be able to make up for that by upping production at its natural gas plants: the Northside Generating Station and Plant Scherer in Macon, Georgia.

Boyce also said they are looking into nuclear power usage within the next five to six years.

She said there are units that are currently being built in Georgia that will contribute to JEA’s portfolio in the future.

“Right now JEA relies on natural gas, solid fuel and renewable sources for its generation portfolio.”

She said the cost of solar energy has recently declined and that they are investing in solar energy as a renewable source.

In the 1970’s JEA produced energy for its customers using mostly oil before facing an oil embargo. This caused oil prices to skyrocket.

Boyce said the point of SJRPP was to diversify the utility’s energy generation portfolio.

History Of JEA Fuel Use

Credit JEA

Following the oil embargo, JEA started using solid fuels because of inexpensive pricing, according to Boyce.

“We were using only about 10 percent natural gas.”

Now, she said, the expense of solid fuels versus natural gas resources have flipped.

“We now use less than 50 percent of solid fuels and more natural gas.”

JEA predicts that over the next 10 years there will be an even further decrease in the use of solid fuel and an increase in nuclear and natural gas, according to the utility’s  10 Year Plan that goes through 2027.

Boyce said the key is to be aware of the changes this could cause for the economy.

“Fifteen years ago natural gas was very, very costly. With new technology we have seen natural gas prices come down and we’ve seen the prices of solid fuel increase.”

She said with this information, JEA is able to save its customers hundreds of millions of dollars while also being mindful of the environment and the market economy.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) will temporarily close New Berlin Road between Faye Road and Port Jacksonville Parkway tomorrow morning from 6:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

A detour route will be designated.

 

 

 

Alexandra Blackwell can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or 904-358-6316.