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Business Observer Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 10 years ago

Energy park gets clearance

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Hillsborough County moves forward with an alternative energy proposal.

Last week, county commissioners in Hillsborough gave their approval to an alternative energy industrial park that would occupy nearly 3,100 acres, and provide between 150 and 170 megawatts of electricity to the surrounding area.

The potential for innovation has generated plenty of buzz, says Rhea Law, attorney for Imperium, the project's developer.

“We started getting calls from all over the world,” Law told the Business Review.

Those working to make the concept a reality, including Law, say they are moving forward as quickly as possible to get the project started. Part of the reason for that is the potential for federal assistance: a $150 million grant is available for select alternative energy projects.

To be eligible for those funds, the project must have 20% of its total costs committed by the end of this year. That represents a significant amount of money for the proposed $580 million project in Hillsborough.

The next regulatory step will be obtaining re-zoning approval, which Law expects will take place sometime in either September or October.

In the meantime, project developers will have to be ready for anything to ensure the federal deadline is met. “We have to be open,” Law says.

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