Despite the objections of environmentalists pushing for alternative energy sources, Gov. Ron DeSantis and two Cabinet members on Thursday approved a Tampa Electric Co. power-plant project in Hillsborough County.
With little comment, DeSantis and the Cabinet, acting as the state’s Power Plant Siting Board, voted 3-1 to approve the project, which involves upgrading a generating unit at the utility’s Big Bend Power Station. The unit will burn natural gas.
Opponents of the plan say that burning fossil fuels contributes to rising sea levels, more extreme weather, risks to public health and economic challenges.
Diana Czank, representing the Sierra Club, argued that the plan simply replaces one fossil fuel, coal, with another, and could damage the surrounding community by failing to address climate change and the potential for regional flooding.
“All the science tells us switching to clean energy saves lives,” Czank said. “The market tells us that it also saves money. Voting for TECO’s dirty, dirty energy project would be irreversible error.”
Tampa Electric’s $853 million plan involves shutting down one generating unit, known as Unit 2, in 2021. Another unit, known as Unit 1, would be upgraded as a natural-gas plant, eliminating the possible use of coal in the unit. The upgraded plant would begin operating in 2023.
Source: Channel 13