The City Council has agreed to study joining with nine other cities to build a $17 million power line from Mona, Juab County, to Craig, Colo., to tap into surplus electricity.
"I think it is a golden opportunity to interconnect into that area. There is a lot of surplus power in that area," Brian Lang with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems told the council this week.The council approved a letter of intent that could lead to signing a contract in two weeks. If the city joins the project it would be the third largest contributor to the project behind St. George and Springville. If Bountiful approves the participation, the city will contribute $3.7 million.
Bountiful, Enterprise, Ephriam, Heber, Lehi, Logan, Murray, Payson, Springville and St. George municipal power systems have also talked of sharing in the project. Bountiful stands to get 20 percent of the 54-megawatt capacity the proposed line would carry and pay 20 percent of the costs.
"This is the thing we have been looking at for the last 20 years. I think we have to look at this thing seriously," Mayor Dean Stahle said.
Carolyn McNeil, UAMPS general manager, said benefits from the new line could give Bountiful access to electricity that is cheaper than other sources, including its own diesel generators. Every year about 1,600 megawatts of surplus energy is generated by utilities in the Colorado area. Surplus power could come from Platte River Power Authority, Colorado Ute and Tri-State Generation oil, coal and hydro-generated electricity.
"Even if you take no power, but are just a power broker you could pay for it within a year or two," McNeil said.
The first part of the line, from Mona to Bonanza power plant southeast of Vernal, has already been constructed. Municipal power systems would purchase excess capacity for about $12 million. They would fund the construction of a new 105-mile line from Bonanza to Craig for another $5 million.