City Council considers options for closing Missouri City power plant and IPL fund balances
The Independence City Council held an extended study session to learn about options for closing the city-owned Missouri City power plant and fund balances for the Independence Power & Light.
This was an extensive discussion involving presentations by IPL director Leon Daggett. Read The Examiner story.
A video of the full study session is below.
City considers energy efficiency finance options
The Independence City Council will consider a resolution Aug. 18th that provides easier financing for private businesses and commercial properties to undertake energy efficiency projects.
Doing so allows Independence property owners to access Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) which allows private property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on their buildings through an additional assessment on their property tax bill, rather than bearing the capital costs upfront.
Energy efficiency projects that can be financed include insulation, better windows, and improved HVAC systems and renewable energy including geothermal heat pumps, wind and solar systems for private businesses and commercial properties.
Project costs can be repaid over a period up to 20 years through a special assessment on their property taxes.
The Missouri Clean Energy District also allows the city to apply for funding to improve municipal or public facilities.
City council supports renewable energy goals
The Independence City Council unanimously supported a resolution that contain an aggressive renewable energy agenda, calls for a rate study and who curtail ceasing burning coal at the city-owned Missouri City and Blue Valley power plants in 2016.
The Missouri City plant would stop production; Blue Valley would be converted over to natural gas. Both plants are among the oldest in the region and mostly used on a seasonal basis to meet peak demand during the summer.
The resolution, sponsored by City Councilmember Scott Roberson, follows extensive discussion on energy issues in the community and is largely consistent with a 2011 master plan for Independence Power & Light.
The resolution received editorial support from the Kansas City Star op-ed writer Yael Abouhalkah, who wrote:
"The Independence City Council today (July 21) should move full speed ahead to promote the use of renewable energy in the city and reduce reliance on coal-fired power plants to produce electricity for its residents.
Elected officials have a welcome opportunity to show leadership on these issues because the city owns and operates Independence Power & Light.
Contrary to popular rumors, electricity rates will not soar if the city chooses this path. And eventually ending coal-fired production at old plants will reduce pollution in this region, a benefit for many."
The resolution and its adoption represents a significant policy direction for IP&L which is one of the largest municipal power operations in the U.S.
The Missouri Beyond Coal Campaign issued this media release following passage of the city council resolution.
Independence Power & Light has among the oldest generating plants in the state of Missouri.
The Missouri City plant is the oldest plant in the state and the Little Blue Valley is the fourth oldest, based on research.
While these two plants are used to meet summer peaking demands, each faces significant investment in the near future if there are to supply energy
Traditional reliance on coal to generate national utility needs is quickly shifting.
The reasons are the plants are inefficient, dirty and no longer economically competitive.
Independence utility rates historically have been competitive if not lower than those of other regional utility companies - investor-owed Kansas City Power & Light or the municipal owned Board of Public Utilities (Kansas City, KS).
In recent years, Independence utility rates have become the highest in the region.
Community discusses energy options
Indy Energy helped organize a community information session about energy options for the city of Independence at a Jan. 11, 2014 event hosted at the Mid-Continent Public Library.
The event received extensive coverage in the Examiner including the perspectives of the various panelists listed below.
These are the two presentations from that event which also included a panel discussion and a question and answer session.
The panelists included:
Karl Zobrist, energy attorney and former chair of the Missouri Public Service Commission
Leon Daggett, director of the Independence Power & Light
Roger Hershey, Indy Energy representative
Bruce VanCompernolle, Business Representative, IBEW Local 53
Andy Knott, Campaign Representative, Beyond Coal Missouri
The meeting received editorial coverage with a news story in The Examiner and an op-ed piece by Lynn Youngblood.
Her piece concludes: "This quandary is really two-fold – production and consumption. The conversation has surrounded production. It needs to include consumption and the need to educate people that an increase in electric power production decreases natural resources. The only way to reduce the need for increased production, no matter the source, is to slow consumption."
Garland Land has been appointed to the Public Utilities Advisory Board for a term through July 1, 2018.
Land replaces Robert Joe Miller, who had been chair of the volunteer board. He has significant experience in public and community health including serving as executive director of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems.
Two Missouri communities - Butler and Columbia - are among 52 communities that are quarterfinalists in Georgetown University Energy Prize and have a chance to win the $5 million prize.
The prize challenges small- to mid-size towns, cities and counties to rethink their energy use and implement creative strategies to increase efficiency.
The Independence City Council 2014-15 city budget which includes the Independence Power & Light operations and other municipal-owned utilities.
The May 27 study session presentation by IPL director Leon Daggett highlighted several key developments: plans to switch Missouri City and Blue Valley from coal, plans for more renewable energy and plans to create a "green" administrative office space on the campus of the Medical Center of Independence.