The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) awarded Tallahassee with the first-place City Livability Award for excellence in leadership and innovation as well as helping provide a high quality of life for its residents. One of the main reasons it got the award is the city’s healthy new power plant. The power plant itself has recently been recognized as an industry leader. A world industry leader. During the Repowering Project, Tallahassee updated the 30-year-old conventional steam system at the Hopkins Power Plant to a more economical, efficient and sustainable 300-megawatt gas-fired “combined cycle system.” The $156 million project actually came in under budget by about 8%, which is unheard of in projects of this size and scope.
The improved efficiency and reduced emissions – as well as the switch of fuel from oil to natural gas – have significantly reduced their fuel costs by approximately $14 million per year. It is now considered to be one of the top six gas-fired, electric-generating facilities in the world. “This is a great honor and reflects our innovative practices, environmental commitment and high-quality utility services, all of which helped Tallahassee win the title of America’s Most Livable City,” said electric utility general manager Rob McGarrah.
The plant is located seven miles west of Tallahassee Providing power to more than 113,000 customers, Tallahassee has one of the best programs in the energy business. This latest award is just one of many the city’s utility has received through the years.
The long list of accolades include – for the third year in a row – the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) two-year certification award from the American Public Power Association (APPA), the prestigious RP3 Platinum designation, as well as numerous awards for safety. They are also big on protecting the environment. Workers perform more than 40 water tests a day looking for irregularities and a separate environmental monitoring facility keeps a watchful eye on things. And the beavers. According to energy industry trade publication POWER Magazine, the plant sits on 230 acres of land inhabited by birds, deer, gators and – yes – even beavers.
“This award brings national attention to our city and it shows what we’ve known all along – that Tallahassee is a great place to live,” Mayor John Marks told POWER of the 2011 City Livability Award. “It demonstrates once again that Tallahassee is at the forefront.”
Edited from Meet Tallahassee’s World-Famous Power Plant.