Voters approve power line By David Lias
Plain Talk Vermillion voters overwhelmingly approved a proposal to build a new, looped 115 kV power line from the Spirit Mound substation to the city. The plan received 506 affirmative votes, and 225 negative votes. Turnout for the election was only 10.9 percent. Central Ward voters approved the plan 65-25; Northeast Ward citizens gave their nod to the proposal 50-16; and Northwest Ward residents voted 115-84 for the line. The votes of residents of Southeast Ward 1 and Southeast Ward 2 totaled 155-59 and 121-41, respectively, in favor of the proposal. It will cost approximately $8 million, according to city estimates, to build the new power lines. The city will pay for this project by using $2 million of Light & Power reserves, and the balance of the project will be bonded and repaid over 25 years. The new lines could actually be a significant revenue source, according to City Manager John Prescott. In May 2008, MRES (Missouri River Energy Services) announced a new program which would benefit the Vermillion transmission line project, he said. If member transmission facilities representing at least 300 MW are leased to MRES, they will make annual lease payments to Vermillion equal to 14 percent of the cityâ�?�?s infrastructure investment, and approximately $7 million of the cityâ�?�?s investment would qualify. â�?�?Without this agreement, building the transmission lines still has a positive return to the community,â�? Prescott said at a recent community meeting, â�?�?of less than 15 years. There will be a positive return to the community over 40 years without the Missouri River Energy Services agreement, and if we have that agreement, it will be a $37 million savings to the community.â�? The looped system is designed to be more a more reliable way for Vermillion to receive electrical power, he said. Currently, there is no redundancy of electric lines in the last quarter mile to the city, from South Dakota Highway 50 to the cityâ�?�?s main substation. â�?�?With this proposal, there will be two separate power lines built from the Spirit Mound substation to the city substation,â�? Prescott said. â�?�?There will be redundancy â�?�? a loop â�?�? throughout the whole system. The Spirit Mound substation also has two backup generators, and is fed from multiple sources. If for some reason there is a problem and the Spirit Mound substation wouldn't be receiving electricity, they would have the ability to generate their own through the backup generators at Spirit Mound.â�? The city likely will let bids for the poles and wire later this year. The new looped system would be scheduled to be completed so that power could be delivered to the city from Spirit Mound substation immediately after Vermillionâ�?�?s contract with East River Electric expires at the end of 2010.