What Utilities put on the table for Drake's future 

One decision, more to come

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO
  • File photo

  • Scenario 1: A new natural gas plant to be built at the Drake site. Would be about half the height of current towers and have a smaller physical footprint. And/or: Build additional generation at Birdsall power plant off North Nevada Avenue, which is currently only used when demand surges.
  • Scenario 3A: Some new generation at Drake and/or Birdsall; some imported and/or generated outside the service territory.
  • Scenario 3B: Drake and/or Birdsall keep running, supplemented by distributed generation (likely small, high-efficiency natural gas generators).
  • Scenario 2A: A new natural gas plant built outside the city. Location TBD.
  • Scenario 2B: Import energy from a regional transmission organization (RTO) — an independent entity, sort of like a cooperative, that provides transmission on a multi-state power grid.
  • Scenario 3C: Distributed generation (whether natural gas, solar or some combination), plus imported energy from an RTO. Decommission Birdsall too, upping replacement needs to 192 megawatts.

On Dec. 18, the board declined to choose a closure date, but did unanimously select a path forward (with director Bill Murray absent), picking the staff-recommended Scenario 3C, which is projected to add roughly $4.08 to the typical monthly residential electric bill. The choice means that Utilities must replace 192 megawatts of needed energy from Drake and Birdsall power plants. The board decided that power won't be generated at either site after the plants close. That means, at the very least Utilities will need to build a 6-mile, $26 million transmission line connecting substations to keep the lights on downtown.


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