Seminole Charges On
Palatka Daily News
By Wayne Smith on Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Company continuing with site upgrades
(The construction site is cleared for work.)
Seminole Electric’s $727 million project to build a new natural gas-fired unit at its Palatka plant remains on schedule. Seminole representatives updated Putnam County officials last week on the progress of the project.
“We’ve received a lot of good support from the community,” said Ryan Hart, Seminole’s director of communications and energy policy. “We continue to receive a lot of support from Putnam County for the project and we’re very appreciative of that.”
According to Project Director Thomas Reed, the projected finish date is October 2022, with commercial service beginning in early 2023.
Reed said site clearing and logging at the site of the Combined Cycle Facility is complete and construction office trailers have started to arrive. He said site excavation and roadwork started March 3, with injection grout and soil improvement beginning last month as well. “The SCCF project is on budget and schedule,” Reed said. “Combined Cycle basic training for Seminole staff continues.”
Seacoast Gas Transmission is working with Seminole on the project and the company said it began work Feb. 3 and has 2.4 miles of pipe in the ground. The project will require approximately 21 miles of pipe in Putnam County, Hart said. Seacoast said the pipeline is a connection between the Florida Gas Transmission line in the Putnam Hall/Melrose area to provide natural gas to the Seminole Electric Cooperative power plant.
The Industrial Co. is also involved with the project and will have up to 75 engineers on-site and 400 craft employees, said Rifat Kantarcioglu, a project manager with the company. He said those interested in jobs working with the project can call 800-424-0156 or visit ticcraftjobs.com.
When Seminole announced the project in August, it said the natural gas-fired plant would replace one of the two coal-fired units in Palatka.
“When the new Seminole Combined Cycle Facility comes online and enters into service, we’ll be removing one of the units from the Seminole generating station from service,” Hart said. During the peak of the project, Hart said more than 1,000 people could be onsite working. He also said Seminole is currently adhering to social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the peak of the project, we’ll have three things going on,” Hart said. “We’ll have contractors at the coal units and the regular employees. And at times, we’ll be building the new natural gas-fired plant.
“So, there will be periods of time where more than 1,000 people will be on-site.”
With the coronavirus pandemic, Hart said Seminole is in staffing diversification using CDC guidelines. “Folks who are able to work from home are working from home,” Hart said. “We’ve not experienced any delays during the pandemic, limiting contact between individuals to help reduce the spread of the virus.”
The Seminole Generating Station is located on about 2,000 acres in Putnam County off U.S. 17 and went into operation in 1984. It employs about 270 workers while providing power to 22,151 meters in the county through Clay Electric.
Reed said safety is a No. 1 priority during construction – for workers and motorists traveling near the construction site. Seminole said replacing one of the coal-fired units with its natural gas-fired plant will result in a 40% reduction of air pollutants and a 34% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.