Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

Progress made on plant

Power plant nears completion

February 19, 2004

On schedule is how Terry McKinney would describe the new power plant.

"Everything's just going good," he said.

McKinney, Baldwin's utility director, said the power plant, located at 10th and Orange streets, is expected to be completed mid-summer for around the anticipated $5.4 million.

"Right now, we're still on that schedule," he said.

About 85 percent of the work on the plant is complete, he said.

"The bulk of the big items is done," he said. "Now it's the small stuff."

Contractors are currently on site completing the piping and electrical wiring and designing the plant's control scheme.

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McKinney said a number of city staff are also working on the project by building the office, switchgear room and storage room.

"The city crews are performing various duties," he said. "We have people working down there all the time helping out."

Once the power plant is complete, he said, it will have a generating capacity of 6,300 kilowatts, an increase from the 4,400-kilowatt capacity of the current power plant.

McKinney said the city has not added additional generating capabilities since 1970, but the increase in growth in the past few years helped the city break a record peak load last year of 9,400 kilowatts.

Baldwin also entered into an agreement 25 years ago with Kansas City Power and Light and the Southwest Power Pool that requires the city to maintain a 12-percent margin above peak demand load.

"As you can see, we need more capacity," he said.

The new plant will house two environmentally friendly engines, and has room for a third engine if needed.

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, McKinney said, the new power plant will also be much quieter than the current one.

"People aren't even going to know it's running," he said.

But more importantly, he said, the new plant, along with the current plant, will allow enough generating capacity to carry the entire town if needed.

"For awhile, we can totally carry the city on a hot day," he said.

Once the new plant is complete, McKinney said, Baldwin will still continue to operate the current one, but only when the city is curtailed or there is no energy coming in from Kansas City Power and Light.

The long-term plan, he said, is to eventually decommission the current power plant and only use the new plant when it's needed.

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