Duke Energy Florida said May 18 that the land is cleared, heavy equipment is arriving, and workers are being hired and mobilized to build a 1,640-MW combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County next to its existing Crystal River power plant.
Duke Energy’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor, Fluor, is expected to start hiring 600 to 700 temporary construction workers gradually in spring 2016 with peak employment expected in 2017. Fluor anticipates hiring a variety of skilled labor, including equipment operators, iron workers, welders, pipe fitters, concrete pourers and electricians.
Built on 400 acres, the new plant will supply 1,640 MW of cleaner-burning energy to help serve Florida’s approximately 1.7 million customers in 2018. The project is among the largest under construction in the industry and one of the most important projects for Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK). The new plant will replace generation from plant retirements, including two 1960s-era coal-fired units (Units 1 and 2 at Crystal River), use highly-efficient technology and benefit the local economy and tax base.
“The project will have an area economic benefit of more than $600 million,” said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy Florida’s state president.
Fluor Corp. (NYSE: FLR) is a global engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction and maintenance company that designs, builds and maintains capital-efficient facilities for its clients on six continents. Fluor has been a Duke Energy contractor for more than 40 years. In addition to the combined-cycle natural gas plant project in Citrus County, Fluor was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the new W.S. Lee combined-cycle natural gas plant in South Carolina. In the early 1980s, Fluor also constructed Crystal River coal-fired units 4 and 5, which are newer and won’t be retired along with the older Units 1 and 2.
Unit 3 at Crystal River is a nuclear facility that was retired earlier this decade.
Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,100 MW of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 13,000-square-mile service area.