TAMPA — Beginning Tuesday, Progress Energy will seek community input on a plan to add 200 miles of transmission lines across Hillsborough and eight other counties.
The lines are needed to meet increased demand for power, which is expected to climb 25 percent over the next decade, spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs said. They will carry electricity south from Progress Energy's proposed nuclear power plant in Levy County, several miles north of Crystal River.
All but 20 miles of the 200-mile, $3-billion project will follow an existing route. In Hillsborough, upgraded lines will follow existing paths. Progress Energy will not need to expand its existing right of way, which is 100 feet.
Progress Energy proposes lines anywhere from 230 to 500 kilovolts, suspended from single steel (110 or 165 feet tall, 9 feet wide) or H-frame poles (120 feet tall, 5 feet wide) that would be 700 to 1,300 feet apart.
The project requires state and federal approval, but it is slated for completion in 2016.
Open houses are scheduled for the following locations:
• 4 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, St. James United Methodist Church, 16202 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa Palms.
• 4 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Huntington Hills Golf & Country Club, 262 Duff Road, Lakeland.
• 4 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Bible-Based Fellowship Church, 4903 Ehrlich Road, Carrollwood.
Progress Energy representatives will show aerial photographs of the potential corridors, offer a project schedule and explain the need for the upgraded lines.
The utility has set up a Web site for homeowners who cannot make the sessions. For more information, go online to www.progress-energy.com/ energyplanning.
— Rodney Thrash, Times Staff Writer