Lamar Utilities Board Keeps Power Development Options Open

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LPR Coal Domes

Lamar Utilities Board Extends Green Castle Agreement

The Lamar Utilities Board, following an executive session on Tuesday, April 14, voted for a third extension of the agreement with Green Castle to pursue development of a natural gas power plant for Lamar.  Lamar Light and Power Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, explained the energy development firm needs more time to conduct their assessment of the facilities.  Green Castle is a full service energy developer that specializes in renewable energy and natural gas technologies. The study will evaluate the feasibility of constructing a new natural gas fired generation plant in Lamar.

During an earlier Utility Board meeting, Hourieh explained that Green Castle has no interests in the defunct Repowering Project.  Green Castle is determining how much of the Light Plant’s infrastructure is usable such as the substations and the gas line the Plant has kept operational.  Green Castle is looking at combined heat and power units which are basically fired by gas.  Hourieh said several months ago that the cost of developing a new plant depends on the size of power output.

Following the executive session, Superintendent Hourieh added that the Light Plant is also affiliated through Green Castle with another firm known as Quanta Services.  Quanta is a Texas based, full-service power company that develops infrastructure to deliver electricity to a community.  The firm offers construction for transmission, distribution and substations as well as technical consulting to power plants.

In other action, the board approved the purchase of 48, forty foot wooden power poles for $27,888.  Hourieh explained they’ll be used as stock inventory to replace aging or broken poles.  “We average about that many poles every six months due to storms or weather conditions,” he stated.  The windstorm that affected the area on April 1 showed why there is a need for replacement parts.  Hourieh noted that the evening storm took out a section of the 25KV lines along East Maple Street in Lamar along Riverside Cemetery at around 8:45pm.  The impact was also felt in Hartman, Bristol and Holly as crews worked overnight to restore power.  “We were back on at approximately 7:50am the next morning,” Hourieh told the board, noting the cost sent to CIRSA insurance company for damage was estimated at $51,000.  “We lost eight poles, eleven transformers and two service poles,” he said.

Line crews are also conducting system reliability tests for needed upgrades through several parts of the city.  Hourieh said crews will be work in alleyways between 12th and 13th Streets from Park to Parmenter, alleyways between 9th and 10th Streets from Washington to Maple Streets and alleyways from 2nd and 3rd Streets.  Crews will replace aging poles, cross arms and electric wiring.

The semi-annual inspection program for the utilities five wind turbines is underway, including the single turbine located in Springfield.  Each turbine will be shut down for approximately 12 hours on a calm day to allow the maintenance to be safety performed by the turbine crew.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityEconomyEmploymentEnergyFeaturedHollyLamarProwers CountyUtilitiesWeather


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