Logan rejects new coal-energy contract

Logan rejects new coal-energy contract

The city said no to buying electricity from a new coal-fired plant, drawing applause and criticism on an issue that pits future energy needs against the environment.

“We won’t be heard on the world front, but we’ll make a statement and somebody somewhere will hear it,” said Municipal Council Chairman Steven Taylor, who was in the majority on a 3-2 vote against investing in the plant in central Utah.

Logan already buys 44 megawatts of power from Intermountain Power Plant Units 1 and 2. Those contracts are in place for another 16 years.

City utility chief Jay Larsen and Mayor Randy Watts had recommended selling $42 million in bonds to buy up to 20 megawatts from IPP’s new Unit 3 in Delta, which should be ready in 2011.
Larsen predicts the city’s power needs by 2012 will jump to 120 megawatts from 90.

“We have bigger homes with air conditioners, TVs, computers and microwaves,” he said.

Watts said the vote Tuesday night puts the city in a precarious situation by ignoring what he called a steady, affordable and reliable source of energy.

“Now, it’s a crapshoot. We don’t even have the cards. We’re waiting for someone to hand us the dice and roll them,” he said.

“I think it’s irresponsible to fully move into the realm of the unknown,” the mayor said.

In November, Pasadena, Anaheim and other California cities said they would not be renewing contracts with Intermountain Power when they expire in 2027. A California law there requires utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2010.

Logan, too, will look at renewable energy, especially wind and geothermal.

“My motivation was not to send a message. It was to make the right decision,” council member Laraine Swenson said in explaining her vote against the coal plant.

She was supported by residents young and old, including fifth-graders who passed a petition at Edith Bowen Laboratory School.

“We want you to use renewable energy, which doesn’t cause pollution or global warming,” Leidy Rogers, 11, told the council.

Information from : deseretnews.com

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