After more than a year of planning and preparation, the smokestacks and boiler houses of Progress Energy's retired P. L. Bartow Steam Power Plant on Weedon Island in St. Petersburg, Fla., were successfully imploded by Progress Energy's contractor this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 28. The absence of the three 300 ft. tall smokestacks that have served as a landmark on Tampa Bay for more than 50 years is the most visible change following the implosion.
The retired P. L. Bartow Steam Power Plant was replaced with new and more efficient, natural gas-burning, combined-cycle technology. This state-of-the-art plant began commercial operation on June 1, 2009. The new units are more efficient and environmentally friendly. The plant's electric output has more than doubled to about 1,200 megawatts - enough electricity to supply approximately 712,000 customers. The site's new technology reduced emissions by more than 80 percent - including a 98 percent reduction of sulfur dioxide emissions. Switching the fuel to natural gas has helped reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve fuel security and reduce fuel costs. Transmission upgrades have also been made to the repowered plant, improving electricity reliability.
Progress Energy Florida is committed to securing the energy future of our customers in Pinellas County, the region, and throughout our 35-county service territory. The repower of the plant represents the company's commitment to providing environmentally friendly, safe, reliable and affordable energy to our more than 1.6 million business and residential customers throughout Florida.