PAYSON Talk about powerful.
The Nebo Power Station, built to take the sting out of high-priced electricity, was dedicated Tuesday in front of nearly 200 dignitaries from around the state.
The 146-megawatt, $100 million dual generator facility will supply some of the power for the 16 municipalities and one electric company represented by the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems that came together to build the plant. It will also fit into Utah's growth pattern, one of the first of many that will be built in coming years, said Gov. Olene Walker.
Utah needs an additional 200 megawatts of power each year to handle growth, said Douglas Hunter, general manager for UAMPS, which owns the station.
The power station marks a breakthrough in the state's goal to develop stable power sources, Walker said. Power prices fluctuated greatly in Utah and across the nation in 2000 and 2001, causing leaders to step up power planning.
"It's been years since any (power stations) were built," she said. "It's the first of many in the planning stages."
The station uses a natural gas-fired steam generator to drive it, the first of its kind in Utah.
"In my lifetime I've never seen as remarkable a change in Utah County," Walker said, commenting about the growth she observed as she flew over the county on her way to the dedication.
The station can stop and start quickly, enabling it to run when market power prices are up and shut down when prices drop. It took 20 months to build the station, said Jim Nolan, president of Colorado Energy Management. The company built the station and will operate it.
He described it as "the most efficient power plant in Utah."
It uses less natural gas per megawatt produced of any plant in Utah. Efficiency is 50 percent, he said.
It can operate in temperatures ranging from a minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, he said. It produces less pollution than the the vehicles passing by on nearby I-15, he added.
The plant will serve 84,000 customers in Utah and 4,000 in Arizona. UAMPS cities taking the most power are Kaysville, Lehi, Logan, Payson, Springville, St. George and Page, Ariz. Others are Ephraim, Fairview, Hurricane, Hyrum, Monroe, Mt. Pleasant, Santa Clara, Spring City, Washington and the Strawberry Electric Service District in Payson.
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