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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon City Council on Monday approved an agreement with the City of Toledo and Clean Energy Future LLC to provide cooling water for a gas fired power generation facility as well as provide emergency interconnection between the two water systems.
 
The agreement allows Oregon to supply Toledo water to Clean Energy Future LLC, the city’s second gas fired power production facility located entirely within Oregon. Toledo water will be conveyed to the power plant by way of a dedicated main carrying only Toledo water with no comingling of Toledo and Oregon water. Under emergency conditions, valves at a connecting point between the dedicated main and an Oregon main could be opened to allow water to be supplied from Toledo to Oregon or from Oregon to Toledo as conditions require.
 
Mayor Mike Seferian said at a committee of the whole meeting earlier this month that the power plant requires the use of “a lot of water.”
 
“So we had a couple of options to try and achieve that,” he said. “Whether to expand our plant, or try and squeeze by with what we’re producing now and make it a very tight situation, or working out a deal with Toledo where they can supply water.”
 
The agreement allows the power plant to purchase water from Toledo, but also permits the power plant to purchase water from Oregon if it expands its water treatment plant in the future.
 
“We could entertain expanding our plant in the future. If we work out the numbers, and we think it works out in our favor, we could choose to do that at any time. So that’s something we would keep an eye on,” said Seferian. “If we find the right situation, we may come back to expand our plant by another 8 million gallons or possibly more. At this time, we think this is the best arrangement to achieve the survival of the new plant, and an emergency water agreement with us and Toledo if we need water. We think it’s as fair of a deal as we hope to come to.”
 
Great backup
“From our perspective,” said City Administrator Mike Beazley, “this is really a win across the board. Even if the plant wasn’t going on, it’s important to Oregon, though our plant runs well, that we have great backup generators. If something happens someday, it would be nice to have a current agreement with Toledo, but also more modern engineering to allow water to flow better into Oregon should there be a challenge, and this will achieve that,” said Beazley. “If we should ever have an emergency in the future, we have a source of water. Secondly, it will be able to flow both ways should there be a time when they could benefit from some flow from Oregon. 
 
Public Service Director Paul Roman said Toledo charges outside customers a 75 percent surcharge, whereas Oregon charges a 50 percent surcharge. The agreement levels the playing field. “They would charge us a base rate plus 75 percent. If we ever sold water to them, we would charge the same rate. I think it’s fair. I don’t think they’ll object to that,” said Roman.
 
Even if the city planned to expand its water plant right away, it would take three to four years to acquire the needed permits, he added. “This agreement allows this power plant to occur sooner. That doesn’t mean we wouldn’t start working towards an expansion later on. You would have a customer right off the bat. It isn’t too far away. The agreement would remain, even if we did expand. “
 
The second water plant has chosen not to provide its own water treatment, he explained. “They are wishing to purchase potable water from Toledo. They won’t be putting in clarifiers like the first power plant did in using our raw water,” said Roman.
 
The water plant has the capacity of treating 16 million gallons of water per day. “We’re in pretty good shape. And we can still invite large water users to the city. We are providing raw water to the first power plant so that didn’t take away from our potable water capacity. But if some other big user comes along, it could push the need for an expansion,” said Roman.
 
Oregon and Toledo will approve the design and construction of the infrastructure necessary to make this connection and Clean Energy Future LLC will pay the costs. The agreement is for 40 years. Projected annual revenue for Toledo’s Department of Utilities is in excess of $1.4 million.
 
Beazley said the costs would be completely covered by Clean Energy Future LLC. “It is only a benefit. We benefit from having new piping, a new interconnection, and a backup water supply. The cost of that will be borne by our industrial partner, who will be paying all the costs associated with buying water from Toledo. It’s a strong win for us,” he said. “We’ll get strong sewer revenue, strong income tax revenue, and it will be an excellent taxpayer for the schools."
 
Councilman James Seaman emphasized its benefit to the school district, which has struggled financially for several years. “If everything goes well, and both plants get up and running, the school district is going to have a lot of money coming in from that,” he said. 
 
The first power plant, Oregon Clean Energy, is expected to be operational in 60 days, Beazley told The Press after the meeting. Clean Energy Future LLC will be located adjacent to Oregon Clean Energy on Lallendorf Road.
 
Toledo City Council approved of the agreement at a meeting last week
 

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