Duke Energy seeks state approval for natural-gas plant site

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Duke Energy Florida submitted a detailed application with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the site of a new Citrus County power plant.

In May, Duke announced intentions to build the natural-gas plant, as well as shutting down two existing coal-fired generating units. However, the utility company must go through a state site-approval process, ultimately leading to a decision by the governor and Florida Cabinet.

Filed Aug. 1 with the DEP, the application was sent to the state Division of Administrative Hearings.

If approved, the plant would be on 400 acres adjacent to Duke’s longstanding Crystal River Energy Complex. According to the application, construction would start early 2016, and begin producing electricity by 2018.

Duke Energy also submitted an application to the Florida Public Service Commission for a “determination of need” for the projected plant. The board will start preliminary hearings on the request Aug. 26.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.