Columbia Powers Up

1 decade 7 months 19 hours ago March 01, 2006 Mar 1, 2006 Wednesday, March 01 2006 Wednesday, March 01, 2006 9:32:28 PM CST in News

Columbia's electricity sources might change, but most residents won't notice.

"We're using that power plant right now," said Dan Dasho, director of Columbia Water and Light, "and the units that we're using were built in 1957 and 1962. They're running out of life."

Dasho said Columbia's population boom will also boost its power needs.

Last year, Columbia used 240 megawatts of power. That could jump by 150 more watts in 2028.

The city's contract with Ameren UE runs out next year, making room for other energy sources, such as generators that burn biomass fuels like ethanol. Those generators would be part of expanding the city's Municipal Power Plant.

"When you add new generators, you do new things and look out over the longterm. These are big things to do," explained Dasho. "You try to look at what's best in terms of cost, compatibility, being able to use the transmission system to get the power in. All those are involved in making a choice."

Although Columbia is embracing alternative energy, the state doesn't seem as enthusiastic. Missouri lawmakers rejected a bill last week that would have required utility companies to spend money researching other energy options.

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