MANATEE -- Florida Power & Light is seeking modifications to its air permit required by state and federal regulators as the pollutants emitted from its Parrish plant decline, officials said Friday.
The amount of electricity produced at the plant has remained steady, while emissions have dropped significantly, said Dee Ann Miller, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Since 2010, there has been a 28.6 percent decline in the amount of fuel used per unit of electrical energy produced, she added.
"What we're doing is we're in the process of performing equipment upgrades on four combustion turbines," FPL
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spokesman Richard Gibbs said. "These turbines will predominantly burn clean natural gas; they will increase the efficiency and power output of the units, and the upgrades improve the operational performance of the units and ultimately benefit our customers."
Gibbs said that the utility is showing "no significant increases in emissions, and in fact, will result in a little lower emissions per kilowatt hour generated."
In January, FPL applied for a revision to its current Title V air operation permit, Miller said.
The permit incorporates a number of requirements related to improved efficiency or to lower emissions, she said.
"The natural gas-fueled combined-cycle unit is undergoing combustion improvements that will allow generation of additional power using less fuel," said Miller, adding that the large, older, conventional units are not used as much as they were in the past.
Miller said that the permit revision is not associated with plans the utility may have regarding an installation of a solar-power plant adjacent to its Parrish facility.
FPL has proposed building three solar-energy centers around the state, each producing 74.5 megawatts of electric power, one of which might be the Manatee Solar Energy Center. The center would be at 10870 Corbett John Road, Parrish, adjacent to an existing natural gas-fired power plant, the Herald previously reported.
FPL is planning to use photovoltaic solar cells to convert sunlight to electricity, and its facility would produce no air pollution, hazardous waste or noise, and require no transportable fuels and little staff requirements, the Herald has reported.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.