Kansas City Power & Light (KCPL), subsidiary
of Great Plains Energy, brought its position regarding
a new coal burning power plant in Iatan in front
of the Platte City Board of Aldermen on Tuesday
Merley McMurry, community business manager for
Great Plains Energy, gave a presentation to the
board regarding the energy issue in the Kansas
City metropolitan area.
"There has been a lot of conversation in
the area regarding the building of power plants,
stated McMurry. This presentation will give
you the opportunity to ask any questions you may
The proposal of building a new coal burning power
plant in Iatan by KCP&L has been the center
of a lot of controversy for the past several months.
The proposal includes constructing one new plant
along side the current plant in Iatan, along with
the refurbishment of the current facility.
According to John DeStefano, president of Home
Service Solution and president of Great Plains
Power, KCP&Ls plan is to invest $300
million in environmental retrofits to further
clean up the Iatan plant, as well as the La Cygne,
KS plant. Along with $1/2 billion to build the
Platte City receives its energy from Aquila and
isn't serviced by KCP&L. The presentation
was made to city officials because of Platte City's
proximity to both Kansas City and Iatan.
"Even though KCP&L doesnt directly
serve Platte City with energy, as neighbors the
issue does directly affect Platte City,
DeStefano, informed the board of alderman.
Alderman Ron Porter asked DeStefano exactly what
area KCP&L does service. DeStefano stated
that KCP&L currently services 4,700 square
miles in Johnson County, Kan. and the greater
Kansas City metro area.
According to McMurry, with the continuing growth
in the Kansas City metropolitan area, the power
issue continues to be one of great concern.
"Kansas City is growing and the demand for
power is growing. Weve seen a steady rise
in growth of 2-3% since 1997 and we expect that
to continue, said McMurry. If we dont
do something we will be in an energy deficit like
McMurrys presentation, which slightly touched
on other ways to produce energy such as wind facilities,
mainly focused on the new coal plant proposed
to go near the existing plant in Iatan.
The new plant, which would come under construction
in 2006 and become operational in 2009, is said
to be able to generate electricity more efficiently.
"The proposed plant will produce 800-900
megawatts of energy, in which KCPL will own 500
megawatts and partner with other sources for the
remaining megawatts, explained McMurry.
"This new state-of-the-art facility will
burn more efficiently, and provide energy to what
we refer to as the 'native load.'
McMurry explained to the board that the native
load is how they refer to their current
According to McMurry, KCP&L is very aware
of the concerns of why their designs for a new
plant include that of coal and not natural gas.
There were two reasons presented to the board
explaining its decision for the coal burning facility.
The first is that they have 250 years of reserve
coal versus that of 40 years of natural gas.
Secondly, she stated with the current price of
natural gas it makes better sense to provide
affordability to our customers.
KCP&L also continued to state that it has
invested in mercury control and company officials
believe the new facility will improve air quality
by reducing nitrogen by 46% and sulfur dioxide
Before opening up the discussion to the board,
McMurrys presentation concluded with the
benefits the new plant will provide to the area.
KCPL listed benefits such as: continued reliability
for energy, affordability, cleaner air, reduced
emissions, and economic benefits including jobs
and a projected $300 million tax base in the area.
Porter addressed the issue of mercury levels
at the Iatan plant, due to the wildlife up in
the area. He questioned the representatives if
any testing had been done on the wildlife to determine
mercury levels that wildlife may have ingested.
"To my knowledge theyve never been
tested. And I dont even know if there is
a way to test animals for mercury, said
Terry Eaton, manager of environmental services
for Great Plains Energy.
Eaton continued, I believe we will reduce
the mercury content by 70% with the equipment
we will be putting on the new and current facilities.
Mayor Brooks added that according to information
he had received, the mercury omissions were around
300 pounds a year. Eaton confirmed those numbers
for the board, upon Brooks request.
Alderman Billy Knighton wanted to know their
game plan for the amount of coal that will be
making its way to the two plants by railways in
Knighton stated that with two plants being operational
in the area, that will create the need for more
coal, doubling the railways by those plants, increasing
the chances for train derailments, and increasing
traffic congestion issues to the northwest where
the trains are traveling from.
Eaton stated that it is still too early in the
design stages to address that issue, but they
are aware of the considerations that need to be
City Administrator Keith Moody addressed the
issue of why the energy companies arent
pushing for a more environmentally friendly way
of producing energy if those options are available.
Eaton and DeStefano both said that it just comes
down to timing.
"I think were moving in that direction,
but it takes the technology to make that happen,
While the plant hasnt received all of its
necessary permits yet, KCP&L said it anticipates
receiving all their permits by March or April