Los Alamos, with its own municipally owned utilities, is a member of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a not-for-profit consortium for providing comprehensive wholesale electricity to community-owned power systems throughout the Intermountain West. Of the 47 communities, Los Alamos is one of 39 that support a local zero-carbon effort.
Los Alamos already owns a renewable portfolio including hydro and solar but also has shares totalling 46 megawatts in two coal-fired power plants.
Doug Hunter, UAMPS general manager, told attendees of the December county meeting that to accomplish the zero-carbon goal, the common-sense solution is “energy efficiency — save power by discussing with customers why they use electricity, and why we need to remove unneeded kilowatt-hours from the system.” Because conservation will decrease future energy use, “we don’t want surplus power when people actually start practicing energy conservation. People are already learning to turn off lights.”
In its quest for carbon-free power to replace the baseload (24-hour-a-day power) now provided by aging coal-fired plants, UAMPS has partnered with NuScale to build a small modular nuclear reactor near Idaho Falls, Idaho.
NuScale CCO Michael McGough told the audience that NuScale is designed to be “small, scalable, and reliable.”
Each module should produce 50 megawatts at a cost of $3 billion versus $90 billion for an ordinary plant. The completion date is projected for 2024.
Featured image from NuScale.