City selects firm for master energy plan

The city has selected Burns and McDonnell, a major local engineering firm, to undertake a master energy plan for Independence Power and Light.

The plan would help IPL figure out long-term plans for generating, purchasing or other options to meet future energy needs.

The cost of the initial study is $325,000 with two additional updates over the next six years at a cost of $182,600 each.

The master energy study will address several important questions including the future of the city-owned Blue Valley power plant and whether it makes economic sense to purchase needed power from other sources.

The study should provide economic evaluations and recommendations to meet IPL generating needs over the next 20 years.

The study involves a tight project schedule with the extensive evaluation to be completed by May 2018. The overall approach is outlined in the firm's proposal.

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Community Solar May Expand to Two Locations

The community solar farm will triple in size over the next several months and be located on two separate sites.

The 3.2 MW community solar farm, which went online in March 2017, is 100% subscribed but a major expansion up to 11 MW was approved this summer.

The current operating solar farm is at at 24301 E. Bundschu Rd. opposite Indian Trails Elementary School.

MCPower, which operates the solar farm, is seeking to rezone an adjacent 7-acre tract which would accommodate an additional .7 MW of solar generation, or approximately 4 MW for the rural location.

(MC Power recently provided a public tour of the existing site for Indy Energy and other interested parties. Photo above)

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Two reappointed to the PUAB

Two members of the Public Utilities Advisory Board - Jack Looney and Mark McDonald - have been reappointed to new four-year terms expiring in 2021.

Looney currently serves as chairperson for the seven-member volunteer board.

The PUAB, in recent months, has been more active and engaged particularly during consideration of decommissioning the city-owned Missouri City power plant.

The PUAB is given extensive responsibilities for utilities providing services in the city.

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IPL audit recommends utility rate increases

A wide-ranging audit of Independence Power and Light (IPL) identifies significant financial and operational issues for the city-owned utility.

The audit was publicly presented to the City Council Finance and Audit Committee on July 12 and was also recently presented to the Public Utilities Advisory Board.

The audit executive summary says the city utility is "at a crossroads" because its current 193 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity is within "five years of end of life."

The report outlines 23 different recommendations - some which have already been implemented - to improve IPL's financial performance and overall operations.

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City Council approves Higher Bidder for Missouri City decommissioning project

City Council votes in favor 5-2; Decides not to wait for utility board report

The City Council, on July 10th, voted 5-2 to award a $9.7 million proposal to decommission the shutdown Missouri City Power Plant to the high bidder.

Council members voting in favor said the project had been put off too long and the company awarded the contract had more experience.

The contract was awarded to Environmental Operations, Inc. The city received another qualified bid for $4.25 million.

The Public Utilities Advisory Board (PUAB) held a public hearing on July 6th on the proposal.

No one spoke in support of the EOI proposal, several persons spoke in opposition and others asked questions. The public hearing lasted approximately an hour and a half. Approximately 40 people attended.

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City Plans Master Energy Plan

PL has issued a Request for Proposal for an energy master energy plan - an important plan document to evaluate current equipment, alternatives and recommendations on how best to generate or purchase power over the next 20 years.

Proposals are due Aug. 11.

One of the study objectives is to provide "a comprehensive economic evaluation of retiring the Blue Valley steam units" including IPL staff who work there. Blue Valley began operation in 1958 and generates less than 2% of the power IPL uses.

Proposals are due Aug. 11.

One of the study objectives is to provide "a comprehensive economic evaluation of retiring the Blue Valley steam units" including IPL staff who work there. Blue Valley began operation in 1958 and generates less than 2% of the power IPL uses.

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Public hearing on Missouri City power plant project set for July 6

On Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 10:30 am, the Independence MO Public Utilities Advisory Board ("PUAB") will hold a public hearing regarding the proposed sale, demolition and remediation of the City-owned Missouri City Power Plant. 

The meeting will be at the Independence Utilities Center, in Room 117, First Floor.  The Independence Utilities Center is located at 17221 East 23rd Street South.

Interested citizens and ratepayers are encouraged to attend and participate.

The project has the subject of considerable discussions and questions related to the selection of a high bidder to do the work.

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Bids to Decommission Missouri City Power Plant Result in Major Cost Differences

The City Council is considering a $9.7 million proposal to decommissioning the shutdown Missouri City Power Plant even though a bid for approximately half that amount was received from another qualified firm.

The higher proposal, received from Environmental Operations Inc, is on the City Council agenda for first reading Monday, June 18th. Two readings are required and approval could occur at the July 10th meeting.

The matter received extensive discussion at the June 15th Public Utilities Advisory Board (PUAB) which voted 4-1 against recommending the higher bid to the City Council. Board members raised several questions about why the lower bid from Commercial Liability Partners was not acceptable.

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IPL considers expanding community solar

Independence Power and Light is considering adding another 4mw community solar farm to meet strong community demand for renewable energy from the sun.

The initial community solar farm, which went online in March 2017, is 100% subscribed and there is a waiting list of residential and business customers interested if additional solar capacity is added, according to IPL director Leon Daggett.

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IPL receives national recognition for reliability

Independence Power and Light is one of 110 public power utilities to recently earn the Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) designation from the American Public Power Association for providing reliable and safe electric service.

IPL received the Diamond Level - the highest level.

The RP3 designation, which lasts for three years, recognizes public power utilities that demonstrate proficiency in four key disciplines: reliability, safety, workforce development and system improvement.

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Council gets automatic meter update

The Independence City Council received an extensive update presentation on automatic utility meters at it March 13th meeting.

The presentation, provided Independence Power and Light Deputy Director Andrew Boatright, provided an update on where the city utility was in considering switching to automatic meters.

Based on the initial review, the revised report estimated the project costs would drop from $48.8 million to $40.2 million with a nine-year breakeven payback.

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City Breaks Ground on New Utility Building

Work on the new city utility center on the former Medical Center of Independence campus is commencing and major project be completed in early 2017.

The ambitious plan converts a former physician office building into administrative offices and customer service center for city-owned utilities including Independence Power & Light.

IPL director Leon Daggett said the building is part of an overall effort to make Independence "one of the greenest cities in the state."

Independence is expanding its purchase of additional wind energy, reached an agreement a new community solar farm and stop burning coal at the two city-operated power plants - Missouri City and Blue Valley.

The new building hopes to meet platinum LEED building standards. 

City Explores Automatic Meter Readers

The City Council is considering whether to install advanced utility meters for city utilities.

The city has an extensive report from West Monroe Partners on the costs and benefits installing an "advanced metering infrastructure" (AMI)

The issue was discussed at the Feb. 8 City Council study session and previously presented to the Public Utilities Advisory Board in December.

The project, if approved, would be implemented over multiple years and costs significant money.

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