Sam O. Purdom generating station- Unit 8, St. Marks, Florida

Sam O. Purdom generating station- Unit 8, St. Marks, Florida


Sam O. Purdom

Generating Station - Unit 8

St. Marks Lighthouse - Artwork by Ouida Vick

St. Marks, Florida


Sam O. Purdom

Generating Station - Unit 8

St. Marks Lighthouse - Artwork by Ouida Vick

St. Marks, Florida


What is Happening?

Need for Power

The City of Tallahassee is considering the installation of new, advanced power generating equipment (referred to as Unit 8) as its existing Purdom Generating Station in St. Marks, Florida. The need for additional power is due to increases in the demand for electricity and the anticipated expiration within the next six years of two contracts for purchased power. The City needs to plan for the addition of about 88 megawatts of electricity to its system by 2000 and about 160 megawatts by 20054. (One megawatt of electricity serves about 200 homes).

In addition, some of the generating eqipment within the City's electric system needs to be retired and replaced because of its age. And with increasing competition in the electric utility industry, the City needs to take advantage of the availability of new, highly efficient, clean technology to maintain competitive electric rates while protecting the environment.

Continuing the Commitment to Conservation and Load Management

Although the City continues to be committed to conservation and load management as a way to slow the growth in electricity demand and conserve energy resources, these programs are not sufficient to eliminate the need for additional generating capacity.

The Electric Department's Mission

The key components of the City of Tallahassee Electric Department's mission are to:

Provide high quality, reliable, competitively priced electric services within our retail and wholesale market areas, and

Improve the quality of life in Tallahassee by valuing our customers, workforce and community.

To achieve this mission, the City needs to plan for the future. Purdom Unit 8 will help ensure that a reliable supply of competitively priced electricity is availble to Tallahassee customers well into the next century.

How Could This Affect You?

Electric Department Revenues Support City Services

The City's electric utility currently provides about $35 million each


year to the General Fund to be used for a wide variety of City services, from parks and recreation to law enforcement. This revenue source is especially important to Tallahassee, as the state capital, because so much of the commercial (office) property in the City is government-owned and therefore tax exempt. So, by contributing revenues to help run the City, the electric utility helps to maintain the quality of life for Tallahassee citizens while keeping property taxes low.

Protecting the Environment

In the past, Tallahassee residents have made it clear that environmental protection is a primary value in planning for future electric generation needs. As a result, specifications for Purdom Unit 8 have included clean fuels (specifically, natural gas) and an environmentally sensitive design.

Protection of the environment is also an important value in Wakulla County, where the Purdom Station is located. Situated on the west bank of the St. Marks River and direcrtly across the river from the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, the Purdom Station has the potential to affect water quality, habitat quality and the aesthetics of the area. The design of Purdom Unit 8 has incorporated specific features for the protection and enhancement of those natural resources. These design features include technology to limit air pollutant emissions and eliminate the need for a discharge of heated water from Unit 8 into the St. marks River. The project includes a zero discharge plant that will recirculate and reuse cooling water and plant process waters, eliminating wastewater discharges. In addition, the deseign calls for reuse of existing sanitary wastewater from the local area, thus reducing discharges of this wastewater into the St. Marks River.

The Purdom Generating Station's Important to the Local Economy

The Purdom Station contributes to employment in St. Marks, generates income for local businesses, and provides in-kind services such as fire fighting equipment and support to the oil spill response capability of the St. Marks Oil Spill Response Cooperative. The City of Tallahassee is committed to being a good neighbor to the City of St. Marks and Wakulla County and will be working closely with local government officials to make sure that their concenrs and ideas are taken into account as the project moves forward in the permitting process.


[Picture of] Aerial view of the St. Marks River from Purdom Generating Station.

What Would happen If the New Power Plant Were Not Built?

Meeting Customer Needs Efficiently and Cost-Effectively

Recent extreme winter temperatures and caused the City of Tallahassee to reach its proected 2002 peak demand level six years earlier than expected. Because is a variety of options available for meeting electricty demand, it is likely that some way would be found to meet the city's needs even if the new unit were not the most cost-effective option, and the benefits associated with the installtion of the new unit at Purdom would not be realized.

[Picture of] Old Spanish fort at confluence of St. marks and Wakulla Rivers.

Maintaining Adequate Reserves

In addition, if there were some delay in implementing an alternating option, the utility could be forced to operate for a time without adequate reserve margins. That means that supplies could fall short if especially high peak demands, or unexpected outages occur.

In the short term, if there were a shortage, the City would first try to meet customers' needs with power purchases from the statewide electric grid. If sufficient supplies were not avaialble, rotating blackouts could occur Rotating blackouts involved deliberately curating power to parts of the City for brief periods of time so that the system does not have to supply the full customer load at all once. In addition to overloaded equipment to fail, ultimately resulting in a full blackout.

[Picture of] Posey's Home of the Topless Oyster

What Has Been Done So Far?

Integrated Resource Planning

In 1994, the Tallahassee Electric Department began a review of customer electricity requirements, fuel price forecasts and resulting resource needs. The city's sytem planning process utilitzed Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) modeling and procedures to ensure that the best choices in reources, considering both new generation and energy conservation, were blended to provide the least cost plan.

During the intitial stages of the planning process, a cistizens committee was utilized to identify the typesof conservation programs and generation alternatives that should be considered and the criterit that should be used in framing the final recommendations for consideration by the City Commission. The results of the planning process showed that:

There was a need for additional power supplies beginning in 2000;

recent advances in availale electric generating technology provided an opportunity for the City of Tallahassee's customers to benefit by installing a new combined cycle unit and retiring older, less efficient units earlier that scheduled; and

the appropriate size of the new unit for the City of Tallahassee's electric system would be up to 250 megawatts.

Competitive Bidding Process

Following the identification of the Year 2000 need, the city voluntarily embarked on a competitive solicitation process by issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to secure the additional power supply resources. This process allowed independent and other electric utilities to provide proposals for need. In addition, the City of Tallahassee developed to "self-build" consulting engineers with expertise in power plant design, permitting, constriction and operation.

Advantages of the Purdom Proposal

The self-build team submitted their proposal on Purdom Unit 8 for comparison with the other outside proposals. Based on the following key advantages, the Purdom proposal was the clear winner in the competition.

A 20 year net present value (NPV) cost that was approximately 16 percent lower than the next lowest cost proposal.

The ability to avoid payment of stockholder profit normally included in any proposalmade by a taxable entity.

The project's eligibility for tax exempt financing.

The ability to optimize staffing and share common facilities because of definitive assessment of potential environmental impact and risk.

The availability of an existing site already owned by the City of Tallahassee and properly designated on the City of St. Marks' comprehensive plan and zoning maps.

The project's location at a site already connected to the City of Tallahassee's power grid so that no new transmission facilities would need to be constructed.

Steps in the Power Plant Permitting Process

Power plants of the size of Purdom Unit 8 are permitted under the Florida Electrical Power Plant Siting Act. That process, slated to take about two eyars, is just beginning as this document is being printed. The following shows the steps in the process and the approximate time fram for completion of those steps.

Preparation of the Application July 1996, through Feb. 1997

Application Filing Feb. 1997

Application Sufficiency Review Feb. 1997 through June 1997

Agency Review June 1997 through oct. 1997

Filing of Agency Reports Sept. 1997

Filing of DEP's Report Oct. 1997

Certification Hearing Jan. 1998

Filing of Hearing Officer's Recommended Order March 1998

Decision by Governor and Cabinet May 1998

We Need Your Input

The Power Plant Siting Act provides for public notices of the application filing and the certification hearing in the form of large newspaper ads. Public comment will be taken during the certification eharing, and the public is allowed to speak briefly before the Governor and Cabinet take action on the final site certification.

In addition to the formal mechanisms for public notice and public participation provided for in the Power Plant Siting Act, the city of Tallahassee welcomes public input and has developed a program to meet with citizens, share information about the project and listen to citizens' views. This program includes public meetings, a Questuion and Answer, column in "Insight" (the informational pamphlet included in customer's bills), a project newsletter, and other forurms for the exchange of views. The City also welcomes the opportunity to make a brief presentation to interested civic, neighborhood, and business groups and will continue to meet with local government and agency representatives as requested or as needed to keep them informed.

A voice mailbox and E-mail address have been established for citizen inquiries about the project. For questions or comments, call or write to the following:

Mr. Rob McGarrah

2602 Jackson Bluff Road

Tallahassee, FL 32304

by voice mail: 904-891-5585 or by E-mail:

[email protected]


[Picture of] Entrance to the Sam O. Purdom Generating station

City of Tallahassee

Mr. Rob McGarrah

2602 Jackson Bluff Road

Tallahassee, FL 32304

by voice mail: 904-891-5585

or by E-mail: [email protected]


State Library Of Florida: Ephemera Collection, Wakulla


Brochure on Sam. O. Paurdom's Generating Station- Unit 8 in St. Marks, Florida