Truckee PUD approves power contract |

Truckee PUD approves power contract

Compared to the coal-fired electricity contract debated late last year at the Truckee Donner Public Utility District, the approval Wednesday of a new power supply was relatively painless.

On a 4-0 vote, with board member Pat Sutton abstaining, the district approved a 10-year contract for geothermal power originating in Nevada. The geothermal source, which the district will share output with Plumas Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative, will meet the need of the utility and start to move it closer to its goal of 21 percent renewable resources by 2010, according to Stephen Hollabaugh, the district’s electric utility manager.

While Sutton said the contract was a critical step forward, she proposed that it be put off until the board’s next meeting so more information and public comment could be gathered.

“I believe this is being rushed too fast,” she said.

But district staff warned that waiting could jeopardize work on the geothermal plant by its owner, which could delay power production past the date the district’s current power contract ends next year.

Board member Ron Hemig said that while geothermal power is relatively low-cost and “amazingly green,” it is just one piece of the district’s power supply. Gone are the days of signing a contract and sitting back.

“This is a risky venture for us,” he said. “But this is the way of the future and we’re evolving.”

Earlier this year, the district signed a contract for a moderate amount hydroelectric power from Stampede Dam. It will go into effect in July and last until 2024. In addition, the board on Wednesday approved a plan that would allow the district to purchase power at seasonal needs from Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems between March 2009 and March 2012.

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