New plans in the works for LMU power plant

The city of Logansport is looking to move forward with plans to repurpose the LMU power plant. WLFI/File Photo
The city of Logansport is looking to move forward with plans to repurpose the LMU power plant. WLFI/File Photo

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) — The city is of Logansport is looking to move forward with plans to provide energy to the city. City leaders are, once again, bringing plans to the table regarding the future of the city’s power plant.

Back in January, Logansport Municipal Utilities closed the coal-fired plant after Environmental Protection Agency regulations were not met. Mayor Dave Kitchell said LMU is doing what it can to repurpose the plant right now.

“The utility service board has tried to salvage as much as possible out of the plant, and they have a plan to do that, [They] have reduced the cost from what originally was estimated to be about $15 million,” Kitchell said.

Rehabilitating the plant still won’t come cheap. It carries an estimated price tag of about $6 million.

While nothing is set in stone, Kitchell said there is an idea in the works to provide energy.

“We can repurpose that generating plant with a natural gas turbine that’s cleaner, that’s quieter,” he said. “It’s more efficient and will produce some revenue for the city of Logansport.”

Kitchell said the turbine is currently located in California. Although it was built nearly three decades ago, the nearly $50 million turbine has never been used.

By making the investment, the city could break even on repurposing costs and bring in a steady stream of revenue, the mayor said.

The city is working with the Purdue Technical Assistance Program to see if the low-pressure steam turbine can be matched up with the power plant’s high-pressure steam system.

“It’s much cheaper for us when you look at the dollars and cents behind trying to repurpose this plant. This is an avenue that makes a great deal of sense for us” Kitchell said.

He said the changes could bring other added benefits.

“We’re hopeful in a lot of ways that we’ll have backup power with that plant if it comes online. So if the grid goes down, Logansport will still be able to run independently on its own grid,” Kitchell said. “Secondly, we’re hoping to avert the costs of the $6 million for demolition and cleanup; and third, we’re hoping to make it a long-term revenue source for the city.”

It might even give the area around the plant a fresh boost.

“I think the nicer we can make that plant, the nicer that neighborhood will be and the more it will do for property values,” said Kitchell.

He said while it hasn’t been decided yet, the possibility of leasing or selling the plant for generations is not out of the question.

“That would create additional tax revenue for the city, which we desperately need,” Kitchell said.

He said while only time will tell what the power plants future will look like, he’s staying optimistic.

“What we have to do is, ya know, look and see what we can do that is cost-effective to repurpose that property,” said Kitchell.