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Local

Prairie State project topic of Batavia event

BATAVIA – The city’s investment in the downstate Prairie State Energy campus will be the topic of discussion in a presentation at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Batavia Public Library, 10 S. Batavia Ave., Batavia.

Batavia resident Betsy Zinser will speak at the presentation, which is being sponsored by the Sierra Club. Earlier this year, Zinser spoke at a similar meeting. Zinser said she supported a recent recommendation by aldermen that the city should ask Attorney General Lisa Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus.

“I feel an investigation needs to happen,” Zinser said.

The action follows on the heels of Batavia businessman Joe Marconi recently filing a class-action lawsuit in Kane County Circuit Court over the city’s investment in the downstate campus.

In 2005, the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency, of which Batavia is a member, agreed to a long-term power contract to buy electricity from Prairie State. Geneva and Rochelle are other members.

Through its power sales agreement with NIMPA, Batavia is obligated to buy 45.8 percent, or about 55 megawatts, of the power generated by Prairie State. Geneva is obligated to buy 29.2 percent (35 megawatts), and Rochelle is obligated to buy 25 percent (30 megawatts).

Earlier this year, state Rep. Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia, asked Madigan to investigate Prairie State Energy Campus. Schmitz had said the letter reflected his concern regarding cost overruns on the $5 billion project and the impact on participating communities that might have to pass the cost along to ratepayers.

Zinser noted the group Batavians for Clean Energy and Conservation had raised financial concerns about the project in 2007 as it was moving forward. Zinser was a member of the group at the time.

The Sierra Club has voiced objections to coal-fired power plants because of environmental concerns.

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