Hookers Point Power Plant

Hookers Point Power Plant was an electricity-generating facility located in Tampa, Florida. The plant used coal as its primary fuel and had an output of 220 megawatts. As with most power plants, the Hookers Point Power Plant was constructed due to an increased demand for electricity in the area. The plant was built in 1940 on one of the peninsulas extending into Tampa Bay by the name of Hookers Point. At the time before the plant was constructed, the Tampa Bay area had just experienced a population increase of 29 percent over the prior decade. Electricity demand further increased for the war effort during WWII as MacDill Airfield ramped up operations. The construction of Hookers Point Power Plant was applauded by local residents and businesses. At the time, it was seen as a necessary addition to spur on the local economy. After 46 years of operation, the owners of the plant, Tampa Electric, found that the power plant had degenerated to a point where it had become expensive to run and locals began to complain that the plant was unsightly and not acceptable for the growing tourism industry. Four years later, in 1990, an increased demand forced the plant back into service. During the 1990s, as the plant continued to operate, plans were being made to finally remove it from service. The dismantling plan for Hookers Point Power Plant was approved in 1996 and a budget of $570,000 was earmarked for the project. The plant remained in operation until 2002, when it was finally retired. Decommissioning of the plant began immediately. A concern during the dismantling of the plant was asbestos that may have still been present in and around the five turbines of the electrical generators. By the end of the dismantling of the Hookers Point Power Plant, it was estimated that 2.5 million pounds of cast iron and steel was made available for recycling. Although the site was cleared, in 2007, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection classified the area as a brownfield. This designation is for sites that could be potentially hazardous to the environment and human health. Coal-fueled power plants built during the mid-20th century were some of the major users of asbestos.  Though useful for its ability to resist heat and electricity, this substance was extremely dangerous to power plant workers who breathed it in. References: