OUC History Book

Page 39

Ken Ksionek (left), Director of SEC Construction, and Gerald Hardage, Managing Director of the Stanton Energy Center project.

The Curtis H. Stanton Energy Center: The Best Available Environmental Control Technology at the Time of Construction The process to build the Curtis H. Stanton Energy Center (SEC) began in 1980 when OUC completed a plant site selection study and decided to proceed with certification of construction for a 436-MW pulverized coal power plant at the 3,280-acre site, 12 miles southeast of Orlando in rural east Orange County. The site was licensed for a total capacity of 2,000 MW. The plant was powered by a steam turbine generator from Westinghouse Electric Corporation. In 1981, the Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved the $516 million coal-burning power plant proposed by OUC. As part of the permit, OUC committed that two-thirds of the site would be dedicated as

Providing Power from Orlando to Key West SEC was a joint venture among OUC (68.6 percent), Kissimmee Utility Authority (4.8 percent) and the Florida Municipal Power Agency (26.6 percent). The FMPA included Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, Starke, Lake Worth, Homestead, Leesburg, Ocala, Bushnell, Jacksonville Beach, Green Cove Springs and Key West. Construction of the plant reduced OUC’s oil consumption by about 3.8 million barrels a year, an initial savings projected at $10 million. SEC Unit 1 was equipped with electrostatic precipitators and limestone scrubbers for air quality control.

a natural preserve for the protection of the red-cockaded woodpecker, at the time an endangered species. “I’m just delighted,” said then Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick. “It’s a very important decision for the City and one that we anxiously awaited. It means a lot to the ratepayers of the City.” (Orlando Sentinel, August 15, 1981).

Partnering with Orange County A nearby Orange County Wastewater Treatment facility provided the water necessary for plant cooling and enabled Stanton to be a “zero discharge” facility. This innovative process for using sewage effluent in the natural draft cooling towers

benefitted both OUC and Orange County.

claimed that OUC was trying to slip

Up until then, the disposition of sewage

ecologically disastrous design changes past

effluent was a costly environmental problem

the Florida Department of Environmental

for Orange County, and the use of sewage

Regulation and plant opponents. In addition,

effluent by Stanton was an important part

cities along the most “practical route” for

of the solution. In addition, the Orange

trains hauling coal to Stanton (DeLand,

County landfill next door to the plant had

Sanford, Longwood, Altamonte Springs,

the potential for utilizing landfill gas or

Maitland and Winter Park) sent telegrams

refuse for future power generation purposes.

and passed resolutions protesting the trains coming through their towns.

Innovative M/WBE Participation Program The project also was notable at the time for its considerable participation of Minority/

Officials said they were worried about coal dust and traffic jams (Orlando Sentinel, December 12, 1982). But the protests were silenced in 1984,

Woman-Owned Business Enterprises that

as Orlando voters showed strong support for

doubled the rate of any similar construction

the coal-fired power plant, overwhelmingly

project in Florida. The record participation

rejecting (13,838 to

was the result of meeting an aggressive

7,557) a court-ordered

minority hiring policy that had been

referendum that

established when the project began.

opponents claimed

Through a Minority Participation Board

could have stopped

and the addition of a minority employment

the project. In what

coordinator, special recruitment and skills

was referred to as the

training courses were established —

“Vote No to Vote Yes”

the first of their kind in Florida.

campaign, the wording on the ballot required a “no” vote to indicate support

Overcoming Consumer Concerns

for the plant.

Of course, the proposed power plant was not without its detractors. In March 1982, the Sierra Club, an environmental group,

On May 12, 1987 at 2:14:56 p.m., Assistant General Manager Lou Stone — who had been present at the birth of every new OUC power plant since 1949 — flipped the switch at the Stanton Energy Center to begin initial synchronization that allowed SEC to produce power for the first time. The Saturday before the startup, retired General Manager Curt Stanton was on hand to “roll the turbine.” SEC went commercial on July 1, 1987 — on schedule and under budget. Page 34

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