Tampa, Florida - On Tuesday, Tampa Electric received final approval to significantly expand the Polk Power Station, and the company expects to begin construction in January.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott and his Cabinet, sitting as the Power Plant Siting Board, unanimously approved the company's Site Certification Application to expand the plant and build about 40 miles of transmission lines.
It was the second of two major approvals the project required. The Florida Public Service Commission previously confirmed the need for the expansion in December 2012.
"This is a win-win for our customers and the environment," said Gordon Gillette, president of Tampa Electric. "This project will allow Tampa Electric to significantly increase the plant's output to better serve our customers - to operate more efficiently on existing land."
Tampa Electric plans to expand the plant by about 460 megawatts, or enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes. The expansion would convert the four existing simple-cycle natural gas units to a more efficient combined-cycle unit by January 2017. At the peak of construction, the project would create about 500 local jobs.
The expansion is needed by 2017 to accommodate customer growth and to replace purchased-power agreements due to expire.
The $700 million project would capture the waste heat of the existing combustion turbines and increase the output of the gas-fired units by 70 percent. The project also would improve transmission reliability and dramatically reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide of the company's system.
Polk Power Station is home to several innovative projects, including one of the world's few integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plants.
In addition, construction on the Regional Reclaimed Water Partnership Initiative water transmission pipeline is nearly complete. The project will allow Tampa Electric to collect reclaimed water from the City of Lakeland, treat it and use it for cooling water at the Polk Power Station.
Release courtesy TECO Energy