Expansion of Cane Island Power Park Receives Final Regulatory Approval
ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 29, 2008 – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) gave final approval Dec. 19 to the proposed addition of a natural gas-fueled power generator at the Cane Island Power Park, enabling construction to commence ahead of schedule in spring 2009.
“This generator is needed to supply our communities with reliable, affordable, environmentally responsible electricity,” said Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) Interim General Manager Nicholas Guarriello. “Through the rigorous approval process, we demonstrated that expanding the Cane Island Power Park is a solution that’s good for consumers, the community and the environment.”
The new generator, known as Cane Island Unit 4, will be constructed at the Cane Island Power Park, an existing 1,000-acre power generation facility in Northwest Osceola County, Fla. The site is jointly owned by FMPA and Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA). Unit 4 will be wholly owned by FMPA and operated by KUA. Electricity from the new unit will serve 15 communities throughout the state, including the Central Florida communities of Kissimmee, Leesburg, Ocala and Bushnell, as well as Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Green Cove Springs, Town of Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Lake Worth, Newberry, Starke and Vero Beach.
Unit 4 will be fueled by clean-burning natural gas. When it begins operating in 2011, it will be one of the cleanest and most efficient plants in Florida. The combined cycle unit will generate 300 megawatts, enough electricity to serve approximately 60,000 homes throughout the state.
“The Cane Island Power Park is a model of efficiency and environmental stewardship,” said Jim Welsh, President and General Manager of KUA. “We are proud to have this opportunity to meet the growing power needs of our local community and our state.”
The Approval Process
The approval process for proposed power plants in Florida is subject to the Florida Power Plant Siting Act. The process involves a number of governmental agencies at the state, local and regional levels. In the environmental review process, it must be demonstrated that the proposed power plant will comply with all environmental regulations and licensing standards in areas such as air quality, water quality, human health, traffic safety, land use, wetlands, wildlife and other areas. The ultimate test for certification involves meeting all agency standards, minimizing project impact using reasonably available methods, balancing the need for power with environmental and other impacts, and serving the public interest.
The approval process can typically take more than a year to complete, but Cane Island Unit 4 completed the process in approximately nine months. All agencies reviewing the project agreed that there was no opposition to the project, expediting the process for final approval. The early approval will allow construction to begin in early spring 2009, several months ahead of schedule.
The Construction Phase
Construction of Cane Island Unit 4 is scheduled to begin in spring 2009 and take about two years to complete.
The project is expected to create up to approximately 300 temporary construction jobs at peak employment, with wages projected to total more than $42 million. Spending on construction will also benefit the local and regional economies and is projected to indirectly create additional jobs.
Engineering, procurement and construction of Cane Island Unit 4 will be completed under contract by Zachry Industrial Incorporated. Zachry brings to the project experience spanning 80 years and more than 5,500 construction projects throughout the world. The company also shares the Cane Island Power Park’s commitment to caring for the environment and contributing to the community. Construction hiring and subcontracting for the project will be conducted by Zachry, beginning later in 2009.
Commitment to the Community
As Cane Island Unit 4 begins the construction phase, FMPA and KUA will continue communication with the community to share information about the project and respond to local residents’ questions and suggestions.
Outreach activities include e-newsletters, guest speaking at local community groups and information on the Web. To learn more about the project, please visit caneisland.fmpa.com or call the project’s telephone hotline at (321) 239-1034.
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Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power company owned by 30 municipal electric utilities. FMPA provides economies of scale in power generation and related services to support community-owned electric utilities. The members of FMPA serve approximately 2 million Floridians. FMPA’s members include Alachua, Bartow, Blountstown, Bushnell, Chattahoochee, Clewiston, Fort Meade, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Homestead, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Lakeland, Leesburg, Moore Haven, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando, Quincy, St. Cloud, Starke, Vero Beach, Wauchula and Williston. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.fmpa.com.