In the latest effort to meet increasing consumer demand for electricity, Duke Energy Florida (DEF) is asking state regulators to approve the purchase of a Polk County power plant owned by a subsidiary of Calpine Corp.
Duke has been working on the deal since August, but didn’t file official documents seeking approval from the Florida Public Service Commission until last week.
The Calpine natural gas plant, located in Auburndale, has been active since 2004.
Along with PSC approval, the Duke deal also requires approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Accordingly, Duke offered an alternative plan for new plant construction in Suwannee County if the Calpine deal falls through.
According to the initial filing, “the Plan includes the addition of the Suwannee Simple Cycle Project, involving the construction of two new combustion turbine units at the existing Suwannee power plant site in 2016, and the Hines Chillers Power Uprate Project at the Hines Energy Complex by 2017.”
Duke’s filing says it needs the additional plants for the capacity to generate additional electricity.
Duke “will experience load growth as the Florida economy recovers from the last recession,” the August filing said. “DEF expects both more customers and growth in energy demand in the near term, through 2017 and beyond. This growth, especially in summer peak demand on the Company’s system, is one factor in the Company’s need for additional generation.”