Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

KCP&L gets initial approval for coal plant

March 30, 2005


— Kansas City Power & Light said Tuesday it had received tentative approval from state regulators to build a new coal-fired power plant in northwest Missouri.

The five-year, $1.3 billion plan, signed off on by staff of the Missouri Public Service Commission and the Office of the Public Counsel, also calls for pollution-cutting upgrades at the company's other power plants and the use of future wind turbines in Kansas.

"We feel that this is a comprehensive plan that provides a clean, low-cost supply of electricity to the region while protecting the customer from the high cost and volatility of natural gas-based generation," said Mike Chesser, chairman and chief executive of Great Plains Energy, KCP&L;'s parent company.

The agreement would allow KCP&L; to recoup "prudent" costs of the plan through customer bills, with the first rate change coming in 2007. In total, the company estimates rates could increase between 3 percent and 4 percent per year during the five-year agreement.

Opponents of building the plant said the company should focus on reducing pollution, investing in wind turbines and making the electric grid more efficient before building a new plant.

Great Plains said the new plant was crucial to meeting future electricity demand in the Kansas City area, which is expected to grow 2 percent a year for the next decade.

The new plant, to go online in 2010, would generate between 800 and 900 megawatts.

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