The city gets its electricity from some power plants that will one day fail to meet EPA standards.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- City officials want to plan now for the city's electric power needs in the future.
That's why city council has approved participation in a feasibility study about possible construction of an electricity generating plant.
City Manager Keith Chamberlin said Columbiana and other communities that are part of the American Municipal Power electric cooperative are considering sharing the cost to construct a base-load power plant.
Chamberlin explained that base-load power is the main source of power, the power on which the city relies on a daily basis, and under normal operating conditions.
Chamberlin said Columbiana and other municipalities in the four-state electric cooperative need to plan now to meet the growing demands for power.
Chamberlin said American Municipal Power of Ohio officials have studied Columbiana's rate of growth and estimate the city's base-load power needs will increase significantly during the rest of this decade.
He said the city has about 3,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in its municipal power system.
City officials in those communities also need to prepare in the event one of the power plants now in use no longer meets Environmental Protection Agency standards and is shut down.
He said one of the power plants may soon no longer meet EPA standards because it is coal-fired. The emissions from the coal-fired operation are closely monitored by the agency, he said.
Chamberlin said he doesn't yet know how much construction of the power plant would cost, nor where it would be built.
He said the municipalities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan that are part of American Municipal Power would share in the construction and operating costs of the plant based on how much of the generated power each community uses.
Chamberlin said the feasibility study will include analysis of the technical aspects of the construction and operation, what type of fuel to use for the plant and how to operate the plant in the most environmentally sound, economically efficient manner.