Bountiful prepared in case coal-generated power plant converts to natural gas

Nov 21 2012 - 6:28pm


BOUNTIFUL -- The city council has authorized Mayor Joe Johnson to sign some contract amendments between the city and the Intermountain Power Agency to deal with the potential future restructuring of the coal-generated Intermountain Power Project power plant.

Based in Delta, the IPP is owned by 23 municipalities in the state, including Bountiful, Kaysville, Morgan, Hyrum and Logan, and currently sells 75 percent of its power to California, including a large chunk to the Greater Los Angeles area.

The amendments address the possibility of the coal-fired generating plant converting to natural gas or another means by 2027, when the plant's contract with the IPA is due to expire, as will an IPA organization agreement. The amendments need the approval of two-thirds of the IPA members to be implemented.

Bountiful is one of 40 Utah communities to own its own utility company and Councilman Fred Moss sits on the IPA board.

Moss took 25 minutes at a recent meeting trying to simplify the complexities of the contract and what lies in the future for the Delta-based plant. He noted California will not buy coal-generated electricity after 2027 and he said there is a high probability the plant may have to convert to natural gas in the future and this leaves that possibility open.

"There are a number of issues that are causing the change. This provides the ability to re-power to natural gas. It doesn't commit a lot of things," Moss said.

Besides the possibility of converting to a new power source, the amendments also deal with the potentially costly issues of decommissioning the plant in the future. Moss stressed the new amendments limit some of the liability for potential decommissioning costs to IPA members.

The organization agreement extends the term of the IPA to 2077 and clarifies the actions that would be undertaken as part of the re-powering of the IPP to a gas-fueled power generation.

The council authorized Johnson to sign the contract changes by a 4-0 vote.

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