LP&L working on plan to save money and precious water - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/23/10

LP&L working on plan to save money and precious water

By James Clark | email   Katie Bauer  - bio | email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Lubbock Power and Light is working on a plan to help conserve fresh water and save money.

Right now the three power stations in Lubbock are powered by our drinking water, but with water conservation such a concern, they are looking to change that.

The water used to cool down the generating stations is charged to LP&L and adds to the cost of Lubbockites' electric bills.

On a hot summer day a power plant in Lubbock can use millions of gallons of water. This is something LP&L wants to cut back on and that's why they have already started to explore other options.

Last year LP&L used almost 179 million gallons of water at its three generating stations.  City Hall charged more than $760,000 for that water which in turn is paid by electric customers. 

"We want to protect it, we want to use less of it so we can make sure we have it in the future," said Chris Sims with Lubbock Power and Light.

Sims says since 2007 they have taken different measures to lessen their impact on the environment.

"Our two largest plants were built in the 1960's and 1970's and at that time water conservation wasn't as prevalent. We didn't see the passage of the U.S. Environmental Protection Act until the early 1970s," said Sims.

A huge focus right now is taking a look at the power plants. They currently run on using fresh water, but LP&L is doing research to see if they can change that. There are other plants in the area that use less valuable water.

"Xcel's power plant here in Lubbock, they have been using gray water, but they built that plant and designed it so they could use gray water our plants weren't built and designed originally to be able to use gray water," said Sims.

So the most intricate process is figuring out how to change the type of water the plants use.

"What all is involved with changing a plant from running on clean drinking water to maybe a lesser clean water such as reclaimed gray water from the city of Lubbock Water Reclamation Plant or possibly even ground water," said Sims.

This should eventually save money, Sims says despite substantial up front costs, but it would be worth it for our water supply in a time when we need it the most.

"We want LP&L to preach what we practice so that's what we are doing, we are looking at every way we can use less electricity, every way that we can use less fuel, every way we can use less water," said Sims.

Sims says this is a very long process, but says he plans to present some of his findings at an upcoming LP&L board meeting.

Copyright 2010 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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