Watch Implosion Topple Florida Coal-Fired Plant

A six-month-long project to demolish the last coal-fired unit at Lakeland Electric’s C.D. McIntosh Power Plant in Lakeland, Florida, reached a milestone on Jan. 14 with the implosion of the facility’s 260-foot stack and 90-foot selective catalytic reduction unit (video below).

Unit 3 at McIntosh, the plant’s last operating coal-fired unit, was closed in 2021, three years earlier than originally planned. Lakeland Electric owns the plant along with the Orlando Utilities Commission.

A Lakeland Electric executive in late 2020 said the decision to close the plant was driven by increasingly higher costs to make repairs at the site, along with the plant’s declining efficiency. The official also cited the cost of maintaining large stockpiles of coal at the facility in the event the plant was to fail.

Buffalo, New York-based Total Wrecking & Environmental has been in charge of the plant’s demolition and hosted community leaders, other officials, and media at Saturday morning’s implosion. The company in a news release said the demolition project “is unprecedented in both scope and complexity, requiring a tremendous amount of resources, specialized crew members, and surgical planning to ensure the demolition is performed safely and on time, as this project is being performed in an active working power facility.”

The McIntosh site is still home to more than 500 MW of natural gas-fired power generation, from units that came online in 2002 and 2020, respectively, with more gas-fired generation planned at the site as part of Lakeland Electric’s NextGen plan.

Lakeland Electric and Total Wrecking & Environmental used Saturday’s event to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, offering those who made a donation to the Wounded Warrior campaign the opportunity to watch a live stream of the implosion. The Wounded Warrior Project is a nonprofit organization that provides services such as career counseling, mental health support, and long-term rehabilitative care to military veterans who were injured during their service.

Crews from New York-based Total Wrecking & Environmental have been demolishing the last coal-fired unit at the C.D. McIntosh Power Plant in Lakeland, Florida, over the past six months. A controlled implosion on Jan. 14 brought down the unit’s stack and selective catalytic reduction equipment. Courtesy: Total Wrecking & Environmental

“Total Wrecking & Environmental is thrilled to clear and restore a critical area within the Lakeland McIntosh Power Plant for a newer energy facility,” said Frank Bodami, founder and CEO of Total Wrecking & Environmental LLC. “We’re excited to apply our unparalleled demolition expertise and clear the way for Lakeland Electric’s new gas-fired reciprocating internal combustion engine (RICE) power plant.”

Total Wrecking & Environmental in March expects to conduct a second controlled implosion of the coal-fired boiler units at the McIntosh site.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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