Archive for Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Power plant in county delayed at least a year

January 2, 2002

Plans for a $200 million natural-gas fired electrical generating plant in Leavenworth County are on hold.

For about a year, Duke Energy-North America has been studying the possibility of building a power plant at 195th Street and Bauserman Road, about 10 miles north of Tonganoxie. The site is one of several locations across the nation under consideration.

But Gary Carlson, executive director of Leavenworth Area Development, said he learned recently that the site in Leavenworth County was no longer under immediate consideration. Carlson said he believed that Duke may again consider the Leavenworth County site in June.

Brandon Maxwell, public affairs specialist for Duke Energy, said Friday, "The project itself is still a viable project and it's certainly still an attractive site for Duke Energy to look into and investigate."

Chandler Morris, manager of project development for Duke Energy, said that the recession that hit the nation in 2001 also made power companies rethink growth plans.

"We've taken a look at the number of facilities that we want to build for the upcoming next few years," Morris said. "One of the nice things about it is we've shortened the amount of projects that we're looking at as potential development sites."

Because Leavenworth County has already made it through the evaluation process, Morris said it will likely be considered as a potential building site for next year.

Morris said he had originally hoped the Leavenworth County project would come on line in 2003, but said Duke had selected some other sites, primarily in the eastern United States, to build facilities.

"The Leavenworth site will be put back into the mix with other sites," Morris said.

If selected later this year, the Leavenworth County site would come on line in 2004.

Carlson said it was "bad and good" that Duke postponed a decision.

The bad news, he said, is that he would liked to have seen the startup of construction of a new power plant in 2002.

"And the good news is that our plant is on an extremely short list for construction in the near future," Carlson said. "I am confident at this point in time that it's not a matter of if it's a matter of when."

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