Plenty of power at an affordable price.
That's the outlook in Bountiful for at least the next 15 years, according to Bountiful Power Department Manager Cliff Michaelis.Bountiful's rates - despite a 14.5 percent increase that went into effect June 1 - will continue to be among the lowest in the state because the city still gets 60 percent of its power from the federal hydroelectric projects, primarily Glen Canyon and Flaming Gorge.
But the city also is getting into some hydroelectric projects of its own. The most recent is the Pineview unit, construction on which is scheduled to begin in August. If all goes smoothly, the 2-megawatt facility will be delivering power by the summer of next year, Michaelis said.
Though its price tag is $3 million, Michaelis said the project will be well worth it.
"For long-term power, it's expensive to build up front, but it fits into our load very well. It will be a long-term power source that is virtually free."
The project is being paid for with reserve funds rather than a bond, enabling the city to avoid placing an additional tax burden on citizens, Michaelis said.
The cost of the power from the hydroelectric plant will be less than 1 cent per kilowatt. That compares to 1.45 cents from WAPA and 5 cents from the Intermountain Power Project, of which Bountiful owns 25 megawatts.
However, Bountiful has not purchased any power from IPP because of the high cost.
"IPP is very expensive. So rather than buy power there, we'll build smaller projects. Basically, we'll develop other resources that are less costly until IPP becomes our next economical resource."
Three years ago, the city completed a 4-megawatt hydroelectric project at Echo Reservoir. A 2-megawatt project at East Canyon Reservoir is licensed but awaiting further U.S. Bureau of Reclamation studies before construction begins.