Springville approves power project

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    By Spencer Parkinson

    Springville City Council recently approved supporting the $95 million Payson Power Project to help sustain the growth of southern Utah Valley.

    With Provo and Orem quickly filling up, many people moving to the area are looking to establish themselves and their businesses in the Springville area.

    “The population of Utah County is growing at a rate four percent higher than the national average,” said E. Fritz Boyer, mayor of Springville. “And Springville”s average is over six percent.”

    Boyer recognizes the need to prepare now for the future. He said, “We can”t just react to growth, we need to anticipate it.”

    Springville currently has its own power plant but it will not be enough to support the increases in population in the future, according to Cal Baxter, director of light and power for the city

    “The Springville plant has always supplied at least 50 percent of the city”s power, with other sources supplying the rest,” Baxter said.

    Baxter believes buying into the Payson Power Project will help the city diversify its sources of power, and help create a power system capable of supporting future increases in the population.

    The multi-million dollar Payson Power Project has been developed to construct a natural gas driven power plant in southern Utah Valley.

    Payson originally intended to be the sole owner of the new plant, but quickly realized that more power would be generated than could be used by the city.

    Payson City Council decided to approach other communities to see if they would be interested in buying shares and taking the excess power off their hands.

    “When the opportunity presented itself to secure an alternative source of power for the city, we wanted to be sure we didn”t miss the opportunity,” Boyer said. “I didn”t want to be standing on the platform while I watched the train pull out of the station.”

    Eighteen other cities have expressed interest in receiving power from the new plant. Those interested include Lehi, St. George, Logan, and Eagle Mountain.

    Construction of the power plant could begin soon if all shareholders can accept an agreement. If construction does begin shortly, Baxter expects the plant to be finished and running by the end of 2003.

    “This is a major decision for the city of Springville,” said Layne Long, city administrator. “Support for this new power plant represents the growth that is occurring in the city.”

    “Springville is a great place to live,” Boyer said. “It is still relatively small, but at the rate we are growing, it is estimated the city will be the size of Orem in just 20 years.”

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