property bounded by Olive Avenue, Lake Street and Magnolia Boulevard
where three defunct plants now stand.
On Tuesday, the City Council is scheduled to decide whether to invest
$2.2 million to license the plant and continue studying its feasibility.
So far, the city has spent about $500,000 to study the idea. If all goes
according to plan, the new plant could open by 2004.
"I think it's a very prudent strategy," Mayor Bill Wiggins said.
"Because of the growing demand for power equaled to what's available to
be generated in California at this time, there's going to be a shortage
for years to come."
According to initial plans, the new plant would produce 250 megawatts
of power, almost double what the city can generate now.
In emergency situations, Burbank can generate about 165 megawatts from
its five operating plants. However, because of its long-term contracts
with other utilities, the city can buy power cheaper elsewhere. Burbank
imports much of its power from outside the state and sells the power it
generates to other cities that are not so well positioned in the energy
City officials said the proposed plant would be more efficient and
cleaner than the city's existing plants.
EFFECTS OF DEREGULATION
Many cities sold off power plants after the 1996 passage of the
state's historic -- and some say misguided -- deregulation bill. Without
plants, many communities have been left at the mercy of investor-owned
utilities that have made a bundle of money selling power in California.
Texas power companies like Reliant, Dynegy and others have seen their
profits soar in the present energy market, industry officials said.
Burbank utility customers, in contrast to those in San Diego and other
parts of the state, have been spared the the summer's price spikes and
rolling blackouts because the city generates about half of its own power.
To remedy the situation, industry experts have called on municipal and
investor utilities to build additional plants.
"It's very crucial that every plant that has a chance of being
financed should be built," said Barry Abramson, a utilities analyst at