Delta City Council approved a contract with Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) for reliable, firm electric service from hydroelectric power at its June 5 meeting. The term of the contract is from Oct. 1, 2024 through Sept. 30, 2057.
Delta has purchased reliable, firm electric service from WAPA since 1968. Delta's allocation today is through the existing contract with WAPA, executed in 1987 with an expiration date of Sept. 30, 2024. WAPA requested the contract renewal be executed in advance of the existing contract expiration to facilitate WAPA's long term load resource planning.
Electric superintendent Adam Suppes told the council WAPA allocation rates have remained stable and affordable throughout the city's 50-year relationship with WAPA.
The WAPA rates are 70 percent lower than the city's lowest cost resource. The city has realized additional savings from the purchase of available hydropower in years of excessive run off. In the past 12-month period, Suppes estimates a cost avoidance of $236,500 through the purchase of power from WAPA.
The WAPA allocation is a 100 percent renewable resource and accounts for 9.8 percent of the city's existing load. Considering WAPA's renewable resource, and adding the city's wind contract and major power supplier MEAN's portfolio, the sum of renewable resources in the city's electric service is 24.4 percent.
The city no longer generates power at the ML&P plant on Main Street.
In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency adopted new rules regarding Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE).The regulations required any non-emergency combustion ignition engine over 500 HP to have its CO emissions reduced by 90 percent, and required more stringent maintenance and record keeping. This affected the city's four largest engines, which would have had to be retrofitted by May 2013, or put into emergency status.
The cost to refit the engines would have been equivalent to or greater than the cost of the equipment due to the design and age of the engines.
In 2012 the city contracted with MEAN for the city's long term total power requirement. In 2013 the power plant was placed into emergency status due to the EPA RICE rule. In 2014 the power plant was permanently retired in an official ceremony.
The Delta City Council held a work session June 7 at the ML&P building, with Adam Suppes providing a tour of the building and its majestic engines that provided Delta's electric power for decades.
The councilmembers discussed possibilities of how this building, its retired outbuildings and its campus might be repurposed.
Finding answers to that question will begin with a committee of two -- Mayor Ron Austin and Councilmember Nathan Clay -- and with occasional assistance from councilmember Christopher Ryan. They will research ideas in how the building and campus can be used for other purposes and they will talk with people who have interests and ideas about other uses.