Independence appears primed to retire the Blue Valley Power Plant on Truman Road, but City Council members are willing to first get a stamp of approval from the Public Utilities Advisory Board.
The council Monday unanimously voted to remand to the PUAB a resolution to close Blue Valley no later than June 1, 2020, a move projected to save more than $3 million annually in labor costs.
Both the current and most recent (2011) master plans recommended retiring Blue Valley, which in recent years as produced less than 2 percent of the city's electricity needs. Generally, the Southwest Power Pool only calls on Independence Power & Light to produce power from the 60-year-old plant during peak usage days.
Two of the plant's turbines began operating in 1958, and the third one began seven years later. It had been coal-fired plant, and IPL switched it to exclusively natural gas fuel a couple years ago. At full capacity use, the plant could generate 98 megawatts of power.
The resolution also directs the city manager, as part of a plan to close the plant, to develop a staffing plan for those existing IPL staff at Blue Valley who would be affected.
The city recently issued a request for proposal to replace 70 megawatts of power generating capacity in anticipation of closing Blue Valley.
TURBINE INSPECTION: The council did approve a major inspection of one of the city's combustion turbines, which are called upon more frequently to produce power because they can be quickly fired up.
The purchase order to GE International is for $1.58 million. IPL had budgeted $2 million for the project. The council had postponed the inspection twice – in August and October – until it received and made decisions on the master energy plan, which ultimately recommended that IPL continue to use some of its gas-powered turbines to provide some locally produced capacity.
This particular turbine, the H-6, has an 18-megawatt capacity, began operating in the mid-1970s and had its last major inspection in 1998, according to the city. All of the master plan scenarios include operating the H-6 turbine through at least 2023.
BIOSOLIDS: The city will contract HDR Engineering for an architectural and engineering services biosolids improvements plan for the Water Pollution Control Department.
The department took its incinerator at the Rock Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant out of service in March 2016 due to changes in federal air emissions regulations. Since then, the city has disposed of biosolids from water treatment at the Courtney Ridge Landfill, but city staff said that's not a sustainable solution. A plan developed for the city by HDR recommended constructing a lime stabilization facility and dispose of biosolids through application.
The contract is for $417,180. Funds come from sewage sludge/incinerator improvements capital project approved several years ago, which has an available balance of nearly $1 million. The total estimated cost of the lime stabilization project is $5.1 million.