Project to boost workforce temporarily

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Duke contractor to hire 400 additional workers for gas-plant construction

By Michael D. Bates



* To apply for one of the hundreds of temporary jobs at the Duke gas plant, visit fluorcraft.com, submit a profile and call the on-site recruiting line at 352-364-8888.


CRYSTAL RIVER — Tradesmen and -women who have the specialized skills it takes to do one of the hundreds of temporary construction jobs needed at Duke Energy’s combined-cycle natural gas plant in Crystal River should start applying now.

That’s the word from Duke spokeswoman Heather Danenhower, who said the contractor in charge of the construction project, Fluor, anticipates hiring 400 more temporary workers than originally expected. That will bring the total number of temporary employees working at the site off U.S. 19 to 1,100. 

But time is running out for potential applicants — the peak of construction is expected to occur in April.

“We anticipate temporary workers to be on-site through spring 2018,” Danenhower said. 

Fluor — the project’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor — has been hiring temporary workers gradually and those hired will be Fluor employees. The project requires workers with specialized skills, so Fluor is seeking professionals such as pipefitters, welders and electricians.

Additional positions include: 

* Boilermakers: those who repair, repipe and retune commercial steam and water boilers and assemble and rework pressure heaters and pressure valves; 

* Millwrights: those who install, dismantle, repair, reassemble and move machinery; and

* Ironworkers: those who make iron or articles of iron and build the framework for structures. 

When built, the new plant will serve about 1.7 million Florida customers. The plant’s first 820 megawatts of capacity are expected to come online in spring 2018 and the second 820 megawatts by December 2018. One megawatt — a million watts — powers about 800 homes. 

Danenhower said there are already about 650 Fluor workers, not including the 150 employees who work for Duke Energy or other subcontractors.

Once construction is complete and the temporary employees’ work is finished, 50 to 75 Duke Energy employees will be needed to operate the plant.

Meanwhile, the project remains on schedule, Danenhower said. The foundations of the gas plant are visible and the plant’s transmission switchyard construction is nearing completion.

During construction, Danenhower expects the gas plant will infuse $633.6 million into the local economy. Once completed, it will pump about $13.3 million into the economy annually, she said.

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-5660, mbates@chronicleonline.com.