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/ 27 Apr, 2022
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The Ledger

LAKELAND — Lakeland officials could approve a contract Monday that would net the city more than $1.2 million for the demolition of three decommissioned power plants. 

City commissioners will vote Monday on an agreement with Total Wrecking & Environmental, LLC to level Lakeland Electric's plants starting in May. It's the New York-based contractor that has offered to pay the city $1.2 million in exchange for the scrap metal on the site. 

"It's a huge project, "Ramona Sirianni, the city's deputy assistant attorney, said at Friday's agenda study. "The fact we're actually going to be generating revenue is good." 

The price of various scrap metals soared in March, as an industry source Construction, Demolition & Recycling reported. Based on the type of metal the price per ton increased between 26% to 36%, raising prices to levels not seen since mid-2008. Prices of shredded scrap metal stood at nearly $600 a ton. 

Total Wrecking was one of eight companies who submitted a proposal to take on the demolition project. There were no local companies, the closest was based in Plant City. Sirianni said city staff found Total Wrecking to "best meet" the requirements for the project. Under the proposed contract, the city will give Total Wrecking ownership of any of the scrap metal and any assets obtained in razing the generators. In exchange, the contractor will give Lakeland monthly payments of $50 per ton of scrap metal removed, regardless of the type of metal. The company will be required to provide the total amount paid for removing each of the three generators. 

Unit 1 is a natural gas and oil-fired steam turbine was shut down in 2016.

LE's C.D. McIntosh Unit 2 was a natural-gas powered steam turbine that had a violent steam explosion in May 2017.  

Unit 3, a 365-megawatt generator, was decommissioned in April 2021. The coal-powered plant was shuttered a year earlier than anticipated due to rising maintenance and operations costs. After the decommissioning there was a five-month transition process to clean residual coal, dust and ash from the boiler. These by-products, often called fly ash, were similarly sold for years by the city to concrete manufacturers for additional revenue. 

In addition to the demolition of the generators and their structures, Total Wrecking would be held responsible for abatement of any hazardous materials on the site, including asbestos. 

LE spokesperson Cathryn Lacy said the contract does not extend to the city's coal yard associated with the operation of Unit 3. The coal yard will need to undergo its own separate clean up and remediation process. 

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Lakeland commissioners have approved the purchase of six natural gas-powered internal combustion enginesto replace Unit 3. These units are being manufactured in Germany. 

Meanwhile, the city has a $23.4 million deal with Orlando Utilities Commission to provide electricity to the city as needed to meet peak demand during the time between Unit 3's closure and 2023, when the "next gen" power supplies are anticipated to be online. The contract does not include the cost of actual energy used. 

Sara-Megan Walsh can be reached at swalsh@theledger.com or 863-802-7545. Follow on Twitter @SaraWalshFl. 

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