LMUD votes to join Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems
The board voted unanimously, with director Nancy Cardenas absent, to join up with the power group, based out of Utah.
The primary interest LMUD has in UAMPS is their current construction of the Intermountain Power Plant, Unit 3.
The plant, which is being built next to two other plants, or units, at the Intermountain Power Agency in Utah, will produce 900-megawatts of electricity annually, to be distributed to all the communities involved. This new plant recently gained its air permit in 2005, and is scheduled to be online and generating power by 2012.
UAMPS claims it will be the cleanest coal-burning plant in the nation, upon completion.
LMUD General Manager Frank Cady said with LMUD’s 50-year commitment, not only will they be getting a premium price on energy, but LMUD will also be able to claim a portion of ownership over the new Intermountain power plant. They will join with the City of Glendale, Calif. PacifiCorp and the Southern Nevada Water Authority in a development committee for the unit, and they will be requesting an 8-megawatt share.
LMUD’s decision to join with UAMPS for the next 50 years comes just before Jan. 1, when Senate Bill 1368 goes into effect, a bill designed to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. The bill also states that no company can enter into a base power contract for longer than five years unless the distributor meets the same emissions as those of a combined cycle natural gas power plant.
Cady explained at the meeting that joining with UAMPS is the low cost, stable and long-term base the company has been looking for. He said he understands this might be bucking the political trend other power companies in California have moved towards, but he feels the means are justified.
“This is not without risk,” Cady said. “Typically, projects don’t go belly up, but that can happen. However, it would seem based on the information we have today, it would be a very prudent move for our community and its constituents to lock in this base resource.”
UAMPS consists of 48 communities spread across the western half of the United States, including Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and California. The company just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and has grown from 21 gathered municipalities in one state to a company that currently has 14 projects offered to its diverse group of members in multiple states.
Cady said that while LMUD will continue to look for eco-friendly energy alternatives, this agreement will allow the LMUD to have the inexpensive base power it needs to help keep it afloat.
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