Bountiful power plant set for July 1 startup of upgrades

Jun 14 2012 - 9:53pm

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BOUNTIFUL -- A major power plant renovation plan is on schedule for a July 1 startup, despite exceeding the budget by more than $1 million.

Allen Johnson, director of Bountiful City Light & Power Company, said new turbines for the utility's power plant on 200 West are in place and officials are testing wires, motors and other components.

Officials wanted those tests done before actually testing the machines with natural gas.

"We're in the twilight stage," Johnson said of the project, which is now carrying an estimated price tag of $25.4 million. Initial estimates two years ago had placed the project between $22 million and $24 million.

The plan includes replacing five older engines at the plant with two natural gas-powered turbines, which are expected to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.

Before the new power generators can go online for the summer season, they will also require final inspection by the state, Johnson said. He said the plant has already obtained the necessary permits.

Johnson said the project has gone over cost because it cost more to remodel the old plant into the new facility than officials had estimated.

"We didn't do a good job of projecting building costs," Johnson said of the final price tag.

Major financing components for the renovation were put in place before the work even began.

In 2010, the council voted to issue $15.2 million in bonds to help provide financing for the project. The bond package is backed by new utility revenues, which went into effect Dec. 1, 2010.

The bond will provide a majority of the funding for the $25 million project.

The remaining portion will come from capital reserve funds, Johnson said.

Besides the turbines, work on the project has included removing two sections of the BCL&P building at 253 South and 200 West and replacing them with new buildings.

The new structure is tied into the remainder of the existing building on the corner of 300 South and 200 West.

As part of the project, an old lumber building on 200 South was demolished and a new dispatch and shop building was constructed at 200 South and 200 West. The result is a long building running north to south along 200 West.

City Planner Aric Jensen said efforts have been made to keep the long structure from looking like a fortress.

Bountiful is one of only two communities in Davis County to own its utility company. The other is Kaysville.

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