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Regulators weigh need for 2 power plants

Proposals would add power plant in Putnam County, another in Pasco County

File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State regulators Wednesday began hearing arguments about proposals to add two power plants to generate electricity for customers of electric cooperatives across Florida.

Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc. and Shady Hills Energy Center, LLC, are seeking key approvals -- known as determinations of need -- for the proposed plants in Putnam and Pasco counties.

Seminole, which supplies wholesale electricity to cooperatives, wants to build a 1,050-megawatt plant in Putnam County and is jointly seeking approval with Shady Hills for a 573-megawatt plant in Pasco County.

Michael Ward, a vice president of Seminole Electric, testified Wednesday that the planned projects are the most cost-effective way to meet the future energy needs of customers of electric cooperatives.

But the projects have drawn opposition from Quantum Pasco Power, L.P., which owns an already-existing plant in Pasco County.

In opening arguments, Robert Scheffel Wright, an attorney for Quantum, disputed that building the plants would be the most cost-effective way to supply power to customers and contended the projects are not needed.

The Public Service Commission was expected to hear the case throughout Wednesday afternoon and could continue Thursday.