New Technology

SME is apparently considering a plan to implement new "carbon capture capabilities" at the Highwood Generating Station. Initially I guess I remain skeptical since I have not read any details about this new technology or, more importantly, the costs to implement it now in an already designed $500+ million dollar plant. I definitely disagree that an undefined 'promise' "represents proof of the good faith of the plant's builders."

But we cannot always be pessimistic. This obviously could be a very good thing for us.

Most of the people I spoke with thought this last minute adoption of technology was designed to garner the support of Governor Schweitzer who had previously indicated that he would not support the coal plant's technology as outdated. I suspect it goes a little deeper than that.

Mr. Gregori indicated that if this new technology is adopted, the power from the plant will be eligible for sale in California. This could lead to the best possible outcome for us.

I suspect that the bond underwriters remain skittish about the City of Great Falls' involvement, because the City's share of the power output is far greater than the present needs of Electric City Power. I do not think it is a coincidence that local legislator, Deb Kottell, is sponsoring a bill that would require residents to purchase their power from Electric City Power.

(Think about it, if you were going to loan money for this project, wouldn't you be a lot more comfortable in doing so if you knew that you had 60,000 captured customers who were legally required to purchase their power at whatever cost the borrower chose?)

Stay with me here. So, let's assume that SME and the City have a pretty good idea that Kottell's bill is DOA. What to do? Find another market for the excess power. Hmmm...how about...California!

So, let's be optimists. The plant is built with 'clean and green' technology. The power, instead of being foisted upon us, is available to us. Electric City Power becomes one of two potential default suppliers competing for our power dollar.

This could be very good news. We'll await the details.

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