by Mark Vasto
Saying that they have listened to the community,
Great Plains Energy, Inc., parent company of local
energy provider KCP&L, has announced to local
media and state regulators its revised plans for
building power plants in the region.
KCP&L, which already owns and maintains the
450-megawatt Iatan power plant station, says it
has narrowed its proposal down to include renewable
energy sources and energy efficiency plans. The
company says the plans are necessary in order
to address the region's energy needs for at least
the next 15 years.
We have a proposal out there, in the community
and at the public forums as well as the regulating
agency for discussion, said Tom Robinson,
spokesman for KCP&L. Its something
thats open for discussion.
The proposal calls for an 800-megawatt power
plant 500 of which would be owned by KCP&L
200 megawatts of wind power, stepped up
scheduling of environmental controls at the existing
(Iatan) plant, and an energy efficiency program.
Robinson acknowledged that the company had narrowed
the scope of its original plans to build two coal
plants to just one and shifted their focus from
selling the energy on the open, unregulated market
to selling excess energy to other utilities in
Were focusing, for the purposes of
this discussion, on the Platte County site,
When asked when KCP&L would begin to install
environmental controls on the existing Iatan plant,
Robinson said that in much the same way the coal
plant was still unofficially decided, so was the
timeframe or final decision to install controls.
Its not a question of a decision
being made yet, Robinson stressed. Were
trying to keep everything in the context of (the
regions) energy needs for the future and
this is a proposal.
Robinson said that the company is still in the
conceptual stages when it comes to evaluating
its wind power plans, but confirmed that the company
was scouting locations in both Northwest Missouri
and Kansas for power generation.
The changes come in the wake of protests by hundreds
of Platte County residents opposed to the proposed
coal plants. The most vocal opposition has been
provided by the Sierra Club, the nation's largest
environmental watchdog group and a local, grassroots
group called Concerned Citizens of Platte County
(CCPC). The health risks associated with the plants
were too great to bear, they argued, even while
the local school district claimed that the plant
would bring a much needed infusion of cash to
Under the terms of the original, unregulated
plant agreement, the West Platte School District
stood to earn about $1.7 million per year. With
the change of plans, KCP&L has been unable
to provide projections for the areas tax
Six months ago the company wanted two plants
to sell power on the open market. Now we are down
to one plant and we suddenly need the power a
little closer to home (mostly Johnson County),
remarked Susan Brown, spokesperson for the Concerned
Citizens of Platte County, in a written communication
to her groups members. I dont
know what to believe, but I do know this...we
dont need any more coal-burning power plants!
Citing a study from the Environmental Law and
Policy Center, a self- described Midwest based
public interest environmental advocacy organization,
Brown stated that efficiency technology can reduce
power demand by 17 percent over ten and 28% over
20 years - eliminating the need for another plant.
Brown said she also disagreed about the growth
projections being used by KCPL.
Last year, according to the Department
of Energy, overall energy demand rose only .6%.
They project future growth rates of 1.3%. KCPL
is using rates of 2-3%. Sounds a little high.
KCP&L will continue meeting with the general
public at its remaining two forums on Thursday
at the Atchison Heritage Convention Center and
July 13 at the Discovery Center at Troost Avenue
in Kansas City.