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Baldwin City plugs into expertise to navigate energy market

During the month of July, the average cost of generating 1 mW of electricity was $69.40, or 6.94 cents per kWh. This price includes Fuel, O&M, and Start Up costs. The average “delivered” cost of natural gas was $4.15 per mcf, and the average cost of diesel in storage was $2.64 per gallon.

When we are generating for peak shaving purposes, we will almost always be in “dual fuel” mode, or 99% natural gas, and 1% diesel. The 1% diesel fuel provides an ignition source for the natural gas, as the Fairbanks Morse Enviro Design units we have at Plant # 2 are not spark ignited, but compression ignited.

By comparison, if we generated the same 1 mW on 100% diesel at $2.64 per gallon, the cost would have been $175.93, or 17.59 cents per kWh. Typically, the only time we would generate using 100% diesel mode would be for testing purposes, during extremely cold winter months when natural gas may be curtailed, or during an emergency situation such as a citywide outage when the loads are fluctuating constantly.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

Rob Culley
Power Plant Superintendent
Baldwin City Municipal Power & Light
785-594-3261

September 10, 2012 at 12:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

None

Grinderman,

I just realized I hadn’t addressed all of your questions.

Why are we doing this system upgrade during the day instead of overnight?

We have had several discussions about this with our staff, contractors, and engineers. Our primary goal is to get this project complete as quickly and safely as possible while minimizing service interruptions to our customers. The modifications necessary to our existing switchgear bus is located in a very confined space with limited access. The decision was made by us to do these modifications during the daylight hours rather than overnight. It is much safer for the city staff and contractors to perform this type of work during the daylight hours.

Rob Culley
Power Plant Superintendent
Baldwin City Municipal Power & Light
785-594-3261 - Office
785-423-1083 – Cell

March 27, 2011 at 1:27 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

None

Grinderman,

We are in the process of adding four additional breakers to our Newton Street Substation. I will try to explain the project to you in more detail.

Why is this project necessary?

This project became necessary primarily due to system voltage upgrades, and Baldwin’s overall increased City load. Baldwin’s peak demand load over the last 30 years has ranged from 4,280 kW in 1980, to 10,025 kW in 2010. Essentially we are dealing with more than twice as much load today, and only 4 usable feeders. Adding additional breakers will provide us an avenue to distribute some of the excessive load to other feeders making the existing loads more manageable.

How are we going to make the upgrades?

During the first phase (April 6th), workers will prep the existing switchgear building to accept the addition. This is expected to take approximately 4 hours. The next day (April 7th), we will have a crane on site to set the new addition in place. On April 12th, workers will make the electrical connections inside the switchgear, connecting the new section to the original. This is expected to take approximately 8 hours.

Will an outage be necessary?

The Newton Substation will need to be taken offline on April 6th, and again on April 12th to perform the work necessary. During these times, we will be bypassing the Substation all together and generating the City load directly from our power plant # 2. This will require the linemen to “parallel” all of the city feeders together as one, and then feed the entire city load directly from the generators at the power plant. While we DO NOT anticipate any interruption of service, generating the city load isolated with all of the feeders paralleled does pose unusual challenges. If for instance a truck accidentally hits a power pole on the upper north end of town, the entire city may very well go offline as there will be no individual feeder breaker protection. If this were to happen, it doesn’t mean the power would remain off for the entire time. The linemen would have to troubleshoot the problem, isolate the area, reopen all the switches, and then a restart at the power plant would be possible. This could take upwards of 45-90 minutes to complete depending on the circumstances.

How do you plan to notify the customers?

Starting Monday morning March 28th, we will be going door to door passing out notices to all of our residential customers. We will also be talking one on one to our business and commercial customers, as well as placing an ad in the local paper with dates and times. We try to do everything possible to notify everyone during a planned event such as this.

If you have any other questions, or would like meet with me in person to discuss this project in more detail, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Rob Culley
Power Plant Superintendent
Baldwin City Municipal Power & Light
785-594-3261 - Office
785-423-1083 - Cell

March 27, 2011 at 1:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )