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.

This is a very significant study which can determine the future direction for the municipal utility. The evaluation report states:

"For Power and Light, the results of the Master Plan can maximize revenues from the SPP (Southwest Power Pool) Integrated Market, position the utility for the future, and impact utility finances by millions of dollars per year."

Burns and McDonnell was selected from a "short list" of three firms and was ranked the number one choice and was "strongly recommended" by the IPL staff evaluation committee.

The evaluation report stated:

"Burns and McDonnell proved their ability to respond to questions and to explain detailed issues and complex evaluation considerations rationally and in easily understood language. Their expertise, experience, and understanding of all critical issues— including newer technologies such as energy storage—is outstanding."

The firm's proposal outlines extensive experience working on similar projects nationwide. The firm has 5,700 employees and was ranked #1 in Power and also Transmission and Distribution by the industry publication Engineering News-Record.