Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Business

Duke Energy seeks proposals to build new natural gas plant

Duke Energy plans to issue a request for proposals Oct. 8 for construction of a new natural gas plant in Citrus County to replace the power lost by its shuttered nuclear facility.

Proposals will compete with Duke Energy's option of building the new plant itself. The plant will be a highly efficient, combined-cycle, natural gas unit with 1,640 megawatts of capacity starting operation in 2018.

"We have a need for significant generating capacity in 2018, and through the RFP (request for proposals) process, we will be able to identify the most cost-effective, safe and reliable generation source for our customers," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy's Florida president.

Florida Power & Light, the state's largest utility, recently completed one of three new combined-cycle natural gas plants it is building. Those units, though slightly smaller than Duke's proposed facility, range in cost from $970 million to about $1.5 billion.

Duke has scheduled an RFP pre-release meeting for Oct. 2, and a meeting for interested bidders for Oct. 18 at the Tampa Marriott Westshore.

After screenings and evaluations, Duke expects to announce a short list of proposals in March, followed by the naming of finalists two months later.

The RFP award is expected in August.

The decision to build the natural gas plant in Citrus County means at least some jobs will return to a community that lost hundreds with the closing of the Crystal River nuclear plant.

Duke announced in February that it would not seek to repair the plant, damaged during an upgrade and maintenance project in 2009.

The shuttered plant became part of the focus of a property tax dispute between Duke and Citrus County over the last year. Duke paid just $19 million of a $36 million tax bill. Duke said its tax bill should be lower with the closing of the plant.

Citrus responded this year with a comprehensive property review and determined that Duke failed to report or underreported assets. The utility's bill this year is $63 million.

Although Duke closed the nuclear plant, the utility still operates four coal plants and owns transmission lines and other property in Citrus County.

Sterling Ivey, a Duke spokesman, said the company was collecting and reviewing its tax notices but "generally believe the appraiser's assessment overstates the value of our property at the Crystal River Energy Complex."

"Duke Energy has fairly and accurately reported all of its property in Citrus County," Ivey said. "We continue to review the property appraiser's independent appraisal as well as complete the work of our own independent analysis for the 2013 tax year. At this time, we anticipate our good-faith payment to be consistent with our 2012 payment of approximately $19 million."

Geoffrey Greene, the Citrus property appraiser, said he sent out tax rolls Tuesday and had not heard from Duke about the new bill. He hopes Duke's decision to build the natural gas plant in Citrus is a sign that the utility and the county can resolve their differences and move forward.

"I think it's wonderful news for Citrus County," Greene said of the new natural gas plant. "We certainly want to continue working with … Duke. Hopefully, we can get together and work out our differences."

Ivan Penn can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2332.

Comments
Proud mom orders ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake online. Publix censors it to ‘Summa . Laude.’

Proud mom orders ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake online. Publix censors it to ‘Summa . Laude.’

Saturday was Jacob Kosinski’s big day. His whole family, many from out of town, saw the Charleston, South Carolina, student graduate from his Christian-based homeschool program with a 4.89 grade point average and the coveted honor of summa cum laude....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Company with Tampa ownership to get new product — candy-like coffee thins — into Dunkin’ Donuts

Company with Tampa ownership to get new product — candy-like coffee thins — into Dunkin’ Donuts

TAMPA — Tampa-based private equity firm ProspEquity Partners paid $18.2 million less than three weeks ago for a two-thirds stake in Tierra Nueva, a Miami company with a new idea for coffee, and already it has some big news.Tierra Nueva’s "coffee thin...
Published: 05/22/18
It’s picking time at Brooksville blackberry farm, one of a handful in the region

It’s picking time at Brooksville blackberry farm, one of a handful in the region

BROOKSVILLE — Black follows blue in the berry patches of Hernando County, but blackberry proponents claim they’re worth waiting for.Today’s blackberry brambles are thornless and don’t require bending over to pick. Their fruits are mouth-full juicier,...
Published: 05/22/18
One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

One of Ybor City’s most historic blocks about to see construction of four-story boutique hotel

TAMPA — Developers are poised to launch construction this week on one of Ybor City’s biggest new projects in years — a four-story, $50 million boutique hotel being created by a Chicago company that seeks out neighborhoods rich in color and character....
Updated: 1 hour ago
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Florida’s favorite grocery chain for decades — but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 1 hour ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE — The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. "For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated that’s not tr...
Published: 05/21/18
Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Netflix announced a production deal Monday with Barack and Michelle Obama that will see the former first couple create a wide range of content for the streaming service.The deal, talks for which had first been reported in March, will encompass a wide...
Published: 05/21/18
Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You don’t have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Published: 05/21/18

Hernando Business Digest for May 25

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL UPGRADES SURGICAL SYSTEM: Oak Hill Hospital recently acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which has broader capabilities than prior generations of the system. The new system is designed with the goal of furt...
Published: 05/21/18