In late 2010, the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities (BPU) signed an agreement partnering with Lawrence, Kansas-based The Bowersock Mills and Power Company (BMPC) to purchase 7 MW of hydroelectric power over the next 25 years, providing additional renewable energy resources to BPU’s existing power generating mix.
Monday, May 16, 2011, BPU Board Members and senior management will participate in an official groundbreaking for the BMPC North PowerHouse Project at the North end of the BMPC Bowersock Dam in Lawrence, Kansas. Governor Sam Brownback will be the special guest at this ceremony.
As background, BMPC has been in continuous operation on the Kansas River since the late 1800’s, first as a flour mill and provider of mechanical energy, and then as an electrical provider starting in 1905. The company’s hydroelectric project on the Bowersock Dam has been supplying electricity to Northeast Kansas on a continuous basis since. Today, the dam is owned by BMPC, but maintained by the city of Lawrence, which depends on the dam to pool water for its Kaw River Water Treatment plant.
As part of an agreement signed last year between BMPC and BPU, BMPCis undertaking a plant expansion project to build an additional powerhouse on its existing site, tripling the current energy production capacity. The project is expected to maintain BMPC’s current status as a “low-impact” hydropower plant (1 of only 71 in the country today).
“BPU is excited to further expand its alternative energy generating mix, which today includes hydro, wind, and landfill gas energy capabilities,” stated Don Gray, General Manager of BPU. “Renewable energy efforts like the Bowersock hydroelectric partnership, as well as BPU’s on-going energy efficiency and demand management efforts, will benefit both the community and the environment.”
This new hydro initiative will provide a number of benefits to the community, BPU customers, and the utility including, among others:
- A renewable energy source without the variability of wind and solar
- Guaranteed hydroelectric power for the next 25 years
- And once BPU begins purchasing power from BMCP, BPU will have more than 15% renewable energy capacity, exceeding the Kansas Renewable Energy Standards Act which calls for a 10% requirement by 2011, 15% by 2016 and 20% beyond 2020.
Additional BPU base generation without the carbon production. Once fully operational, the project is expected to produce 33,000 MWh per year of energy (the equivalent of 188 railcars of coal), enough to supply electricity to 3,300 Wyandotte County homes. Moreover, the project will reduce overall CO2 emissions by more than 44,000 tons.
Information courtesy of the Unified Government
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