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Batavia to sell part of Prairie State power

Published: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – The city of Batavia is seeking to sell a portion of the power the city receives as part of the Prairie State Energy Campus because it doesn’t need as much power as expected as a result of the economic slowdown.

The Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency on Thursday announced the sale. Batavia and Geneva belong to NIMPA, which is an energy consortium that is part-owner of the downstate Prairie State project.

In 2007, when Batavia approved buying power from the plant, it was projected that Batavia’s electrical system would experience significant growth.

“We had a couple of large industrial customers move to Batavia in 2007,” Batavia Public Works Director Gary Holm said. “We’ve seen a return to growth, but at rates much less than expected.”

As a result, in early 2011, the city retained Pace Global Energy Services to re-examine its overall energy portfolio strategy. Pace recommended the city explore diversification.

Batavia’s share in the Prairie State campus is 55 megawatts. The city is looking to sell up to 50 megawatts of power in five-megawatt blocks.

NIMPA will receive initial proposals this year, with the sale set for next year, Holm said.

In August, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis issued a report criticizing the Prairie State Energy Campus with charging more for power than promised. Geneva and St. Charles also are invested in the project.

Holm said the report had nothing to do with the city’s decision.

“We had a study done,” he said. “We’ve been working on this issue for quite some time.”

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