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Florida Power Boosting Gas-Fired Generating Capacity

Florida Power Boosting Gas-Fired Generating Capacity

Florida Power Corp. has joined in the flurry of new energy projects spurred by this summer's record-setting heat wave, filing plans with the Florida Public Service Commission to accelerate the building of a second generation unit at its Hines Energy Complex in Polk County. The unit will provide additional capability to meet growing demand for electricity well into the next century. The company has offered to absorb construction costs for the plant in its current customer rates.

The 500-megawatt Hines 2 plant will help meet the needs of the company's growing customer base in Florida by increasing reliability and generation capacity -- and its fuel efficiency will lead to lower energy prices for customers. Following the required regulatory approvals in 1999, construction of the plant will begin. The plant is expected to begin operating in mid-2001. Hines I and II combined will consume 70-80 MMcf/d of gas depending upon weather.

"We've anticipated Florida's growing energy needs for some time. That's why we designed the Hines site to accommodate up to 3,000 MW when fully developed over the next decade," said Joe Richardson, CEO of the St. Petersburg, FL utility. The first unit at Hines, with a capacity of 500 MW, is scheduled for commercial operation later this year.

Richardson said events this past summer, when Florida Power exceeded its previous record peak demand on 30 separate days, highlighted the need for more generation. The record-setting heat in June, the hottest month in the history of Florida, required the company to use its energy management program beyond the practical limit of customer tolerance.

The Florida Reliability Council recently completed a report outlining the need for more than 10,000 MW of additional power generating capacity in the state by 2007.

Joe Fisher, Houston

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