Kirkwood power plant could be operating by 2011 | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Kirkwood power plant could be operating by 2011

Kirkwood Mountain Utilities officials expect to have a new power plant building for the resort and surrounding community constructed ahead of the upcoming ski season, and the plant is anticipated to be operational in 2011, according to a Tuesday statement from Kirkwood Mountain Resort.

A fire destroyed Kirkwood Valley’s previous power plant on Jan. 1. The resort, and more than 700 surrounding homes, have been powered by large portable diesel generators since the New Year’s Day fire.

Construction on the new power plant started more than a month ago, but was stalled during an appeal, according to the statement.

In July, members of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District Board voted down an appeal to replace the diesel-fired power plant destroyed in January with a natural gas option.

“As a result of the appeal, the plant has been designed for the anticipated changes in generation technology,” according to the statement. “The facility will be built as a prime diesel power plant but will be flexible enough to accommodate alternative fuels and future renewable energy options like wind and solar arrangements.”

The new power plant is expected to be a “state of the art 10,000 square foot facility that will provide power to the entire Kirkwood community, ultimately resulting in the closures of a separate power generation facility being run to support the water, wastewater, fire and (Kirkwood Meadows Public Utility District) operations,” according to the statement.

The plant will be nearly three times the size of the old plant and will be build adjacent to the site of the burned power plant on the upper bay of the Red Cliffs parking lot.

The new power plant will be similar in capacity to the previous one, but will have technology that will reduce particulate emissions by more than 70 percent, according to the statement. The new power plant should also increase reliability.

The resort has experienced lift stoppages due to power problems in the past and residents have reported especially inconsistent electricity since their homes have been powered by the portable generators.

“The fact that we are replacing the distribution circuits this month that were lost in the fire is the key to improving our reliability,” said Wayne Amer, president of Mountain Utilities, in the statement. “While we made it through last winter with a band aid approach, we will have full network redundancy and a switchable distribution system fully operational by October,”

The public utility district continues to pursue the opportunity to connect Kirkwood to the regional electric grid, according to the statement.


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