ECT secured land use approvals as well as state permits for Tampa Electric Company (TECO) to develop the 472-acre Lake Mabel Solar Power Generation Facility. Once operational, the facility will generate a maximum 74.5 MW of AC electricity for transmission into the power grid. The design avoided state and federally threatened skink habitat that was identified on the property.
Land Use Permitting Challenges
ECT’s team faced a challenge securing the necessary land use approvals because the project site traverses three different jurisdictions – each with their own land use approval requirements – and two of the jurisdictions had no prior experience with solar projects. ECT planners, TECO’s in-house counsel, and outside counsel worked with the City and Town planners to create amendments or Special Exceptions to allow for solar projects in order to secure land use approvals. After a total of 9 hearings, the project received approval. Currently, the project is in the site/construction plan review process by all three jurisdictions.
After conducting the required wetland delineations, listed species surveys, cultural resource assessment surveys, and stormwater engineering reviews, ECT assisted TECO in completing the appropriate permit applications. ECT submitted the Environmental Resource Permit/Section 404 Permit Application in January 2022 and received approval in July 2022.