State regulators approved a proposal Wednesday by Tampa Electric that will almost double the electricity output of its natural gas plants at the utility's Polk County Power Station.
Tampa Electric, a subsidiary of TECO Energy, plans a $700 million expansion of the Polk plant on State Road 37. The project will allow Tampa Electric to phase out some of its purchase power agreements since the utility will have capacity to produce the power itself.
The expanded operation, which would convert four existing simple-cycle natural gas units to a more efficient combined-cycle unit, is expected to begin producing power by January 2017.
"This conversion will provide more efficient and reliable energy generation for TECO's customers," said Ronald Brisé, chairman of the state Public Service Commission. "The Polk 2-5 project will save fuel, lower emissions, and use treated wastewater for cooling – improvements that are good for customers and the environment."