As the city prepares to close the purchase of the Mother Earth Industries geothermal power plant, the City Council took a final step Tuesday allowing construction to begin at the plant.

The council appropriated $17.95 million in the energy capital improvement projects fund for the purchase and expansion of the plant near Cove Fort, Millard County.From that money, $8.65 million will be used next week for an initial payment on the plant. The rest will go for phase-three construction, the licensing fee for a hydrogen sulfide system and as a guarantee on the loan.

Ron Rydman, acting director of Provo's Energy Department, said the city wants to expand the facility from 3.6 megawatts to 10 megawatts and have it operating by October or November 1989.

He said the city is working on putting out a bid for phase three and hopes to get a response by the end of January.

Mayor Joe Jenkins said preclosing and closing documents will be brought together and signed Dec. 14 and 15.