FMPA Proposes Natural Gas Power Plant Near Fort Pierce
ORLANDO, Fla., May 6, 2005 – Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) announced plans today to develop a natural gas power plant near Fort Pierce, Fla., by 2008 to serve the ever-increasing demand for electricity in the state.
“Additional electric generation is needed to supply the growing energy needs of Florida’s Treasure Coast region and communities throughout Florida. Our investigations show that this proposed unit is the most cost-effective option for meeting that need in an environmentally friendly manner,” said FMPA General Manager and CEO Roger Fontes.
FMPA is a wholesale power agency owned by municipal electric utilities in Florida. Power from the proposed facility, known as the Treasure Coast Energy Center, will serve electric customers in Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, Lake Worth and Clewiston, along with the cities of Bushnell, Fort Meade, Green Cove Springs, Havana, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Newberry, Ocala and Starke.
Treasure Coast Energy Center will be wholly owned by FMPA, but it will be operated under contract by Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA). Fort Pierce has operated power generation in its community since 1912.
“FPUA brings a wealth of experience in power plant operation, a proven track-record and a strong community connection to the Treasure Coast Energy Center,” said Fontes. “Also, our evaluations show that Fort Pierce is the best location for this plant because it’s near several FMPA cities and is well-positioned to avoid congestion on the high-voltage electric transmission system.”
Elie J. Boudreaux III, director of Fort Pierce Utilities Authority, said, “We believe this new power plant is a positive addition to our community. Treasure Coast will be the future of our power generation for Fort Pierce. The King Plant in downtown represents our past. With development of the new plant, we expect to be able to retire the King Plant at some point in the future. The exact date has yet to be determined.”
“Fort Pierce’s partnership with FMPA is an exciting opportunity to do good for our community and the Treasure Coast region, to keep and create good jobs in our community, while helping other communities statewide,” Boudreaux said. “We expect significant economic benefits from this project, and no significant adverse environmental or other impacts.”
FMPA proposes to build a high-efficiency, natural gas-fired unit. The unit will generate 300 Megawatts. Ultimately, the site could support a total of four similarly sized units. As proposed, this power plant, with its advanced environmental control technologies, will be one of the lowest emission plants in Florida and one of the highest efficiency plants in the state. Also, to conserve precious water resources, the power plant is designed to use treated wastewater. The reclaimed water likely will be supplied by FPUA from a wastewater treatment plant that will be built adjacent to the power plant.
The 69-acre Treasure Coast Energy Center site is located in the Midway Industrial Park, southwest of Fort Pierce, along Glades Cut-Off Road. This industrial area was previously approved for a power plant project.
If permits are granted for the facility, construction could begin in 2006, creating up to 300 construction jobs at the peak. It takes two years to build a natural gas plant, so Unit 1 could begin operations in 2008, at which time it will employ 16 full-time operators, and more if other units are added.
Like most electric utilities in Florida, the power needs of FMPA’s members are growing. Electricity from the new facility is needed to support Florida’s increasing electricity usage, replace expiring power purchase contracts and replace older, less efficient generation.
FMPA members began planning for this need more than a year ago by completing a study that provides a blueprint for future power supply development. The plan identifies the best combination of resources to provide reliable power at the lowest cost. Results of the study indicate that FMPA’s cities will have a significant need for new power generation beginning in 2008 and recommend filling the need with a high-efficiency 300 Megawatt combined cycle unit.
FMPA investigated a variety of power supply options, including renewable energy generation and energy conservation, to ensure its customers receive the most cost-effective and dependable option. Also, FMPA issued a request for proposals in September 2004 seeking to purchase power from another entity rather than build a new unit. The proposals received were evaluated based on power cost and other factors including reliability and risk. Both investigations showed that building a new unit is the best, most economical option. State agencies will review these determinations.
FMPA filed applications with state regulatory authorities, as prescribed by Florida’s Power Plant Siting Act. The law directs a number of state, federal and local government agencies to review a proposed new electrical power plant. Key aspects of the approval process include a need determination proceeding before the Florida Public Service Commission, a local land use hearing and a site certification hearing before final approval by the Florida Governor and Cabinet. The process is expected to take more than a year and involve two public hearings in Fort Pierce.
Florida Municipal Power Agency (FMPA) is a wholesale power agency owned by 29 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 1.8 million Floridians. FMPA’s members include Alachua, Bartow, 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.