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AECI awaits approval to build new turbine

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by Abby Beggerly

SBJ Staff

Associated Electric Cooperative awaits approval from the Rural Utilities Service to begin construction in October on a 100-megawatt, simple-cycle, gas-fired combustion turbine in southeast Missouri.

Two sites are being considered for the estimated $30 million project, one in Butler County and the other in Stoddard County.

The Butler County site is located on State Highway 51, one mile east and 1.7 miles north of Fagus. The location in Stoddard County is on County Road E, 1.2 miles east of Idalia.

The new facility is slated to begin operations by June 1999. The plant's operations will be dispatched from the cooperative's headquarters in Springfield, requiring no permanent employees at the site.

The facility is designed to produce supplemental power during times of peak demand.

"In terms of size, this one is small, but not the smallest we have," said David Burton, public relations spokesman for Associated Electric Cooperative.

An initial hearing by the Rural Utilities Service must be held before the next step in approving the proposal can begin.

Reports will be released of the RUS's environmental findings at each site.

If no environmental concerns are found, then another public meeting will not be needed, Burton said. Associated has already conducted its own environmental studies at both sites, with no known concerns arising at either of those locations.

Once the proposal is accepted, a bidding process will begin for the construction of the new facility. The contractor chosen by the cooperative to monitor the bid selection is Westinghouse Electric Co. of Orlando, Fla.

The first public hearing for the selection of the site will be held in the commission courtroom of the Stoddard County Courthouse, 7-9 p.m. July 23. The siting and alternatives study can be reviewed by the public at AECI, 2814 S. Golden in Springfield, and at the Bloomfield Public Library, 200 Seneca St.

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