POWER CHOICE: Hearings On Coal, Natural Gas

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People living in Ames are being asked to make a decision about the source of their power.

The Ames Power Plant has burned coal from Wyoming for years.

Now, new regulations covering the burning of coal are causing the city to evaluate whether upgrading the way it burns coal is the way to go or if it should switch to natural gas.

“We’ve basically completed a study that looked at retirement, looked at continuing to burn coal, and also then converting to natural gas operation,” says Donald Kom, Ames Electric Services Director.

Federal regulations would require the purchase of new equipment to remove some of the mercury from the coal.

“You look at it from a natural Gas standpoint, we’d have to change out some of the equipment in our boilers. More importantly there is not enough gas directly in Ames to supply gas to the power plant,” says Kom.

Ames residents can learn more about the fuel choice at two hearings. One is being held Monday night at 7:00 at City Call and the other is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. at the Schemann Building at Iowa State University.

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