Solar Power Options Discussed at Utility Board Meeting



The Lamar Light Plant and ARPA board members continue to explore solar power options. Hourieh said he and LUB president, Doug Thrall, met recently with Renewable Energy Sources representatives to discuss a power purchase agreement to ‘solar garden’ the service area.  Solar gardens are centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers.  This past summer, Hourieh visited a sizable solar farm in the Vilas area.

The ARPA Operations Committee discussed the regeneration policy during their meeting in La Junta. Houried stated that a window of opportunity for solar garden systems is ending, so discussions are being sped up.  Member cities are allowed to general 27.5 megawatts and the utility board is considering an operation that would generate five megawatts.  He noted there are some questions regarding ownership of the garden and is addressing those concerns with LUB attorney, Don Steerman.

Board members selected the lower of two bids received for the annual purchase of granular weed killer herbicides. The low bid from Sure Crop Care of $9,400 was approved.  It will be used to treat the substations, natural gas central plant, office area and the line hardware storage areas.

Light Plant Superintendent, Houssin Hourieh, explained the line crews are installing raptor protection throughout the west end 25kv circuit, along with general maintenance, line patrolling and tree trimming to help minimize the number of momentary outages and improve system reliability.

Crews discovered a failed current transformer (CT) at the 25kv substation breaker which feeds the west end. It was replaced and more breaker testing will take place in the next few days with no power loss to customers.

On January 23rd, Arkansas River Power Association (ARPA)’s wind turbine (T4) tripped offline due to a failed 575V main circuit breaker.  A replacement has been ordered and NRG Energy of Colorado Green will help install and commission the breaker.

Purchase orders of $824,915.37 and bill paid totaling $1,138,292.06.

The board added an executive session to their agenda, but no action was taken following their discussion. The next LUB meeting will be held on Tuesday, February 27th.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedUtilities


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