Rain or shine, Duke Energy Florida will celebrate its new 1,640-megawatt Citrus County natural gas plant with a 10 a.m. groundbreaking March 2 at Crystal River Energy Complex, 15760 W. Power Line St., Crystal River.
The outdoor event will involve uneven terrain, sand and wooded areas, so attendees are advised to wear flat, closed-toe footwear. The invitation-only event will include remarks from Duke Energy executives, local elected officials and community leaders. Representatives from Texas-based Fluor, the project's engineering, procurement and construction contractor and long-time Duke collaborator, will also attend.
The facility, expected to serve 1.7 million customers starting in 2018, is not only one of the largest of its kind but also of paramount importance to Duke Energy, replacing obsolete plants from the 1960s and complying with highest environmental standards with clean-burning technology.
"Building highly efficient natural gas plants is part of Duke Energy's balanced approach to meeting future demand for reliable and increasingly clean electricity," Alex Glenn, Duke Energy Florida's state president, said. "Since 2008, we have reduced our air emissions by nearly 80 percent and our carbon footprint by 15 percent.”
Noting that the plant will further reduce carbon emissions, Glenn added that the project will add over $600 million to the local economy and generate 600 to 700 temporary construction jobs. The project will subsidize over one dozen U.S. and international firms, but will utilize local suppliers when possible.
"Duke Energy has been a vital part of the Citrus County community for 50 years,” Glenn said.
The Citrus plant will be Duke Energy Florida’s second largest generator, with the largest being the 1,912 megawatt Hines Energy Complex near Bartow.