The Gazette, May 17, 2001
By George C. Ford – Gazette financial editor
Amana – A new standby electric power generating station in Middle Amana will keep the lights on and the air conditioning running this summer.
The Amana Society Service Co. recently competed work on a diesel-powered generating plant that has the capacity to provide 24,000 kilowatts of electricity. The facility can supply all the power needed by the Amana Colonies and Amana Appliances during peak alerts and storm outages, according to Terry Hershberger, manager of Amana Society Service Co.
“More than a year ago, we began looking at ways to manage our costs during peak demand times in the summer when premium prices are paid for electricity,” said Hershberger. “After meeting with consultants to explore our options and look at trends in the industry, we decided to move forward with a peak generation facility.”
Work on the generating plant, which involves 12 diesel-powered Caterpillar generators, began in October. The facility was completed and certified on April 30.
“We are certified by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to run as much as 500 hours per year,” said Hershberger. “We have an interruptible power contract with our wholesale supplier, MidAmerican Energy, but the lights will stay on.
“We will provide the power from our own facility and take advantage of the lower rates from the interruptible power contract.”
“Based on the unstable regulatory environment and fluctuating market priced, we feel we’ve made a sound investment that will benefit our community today and in the future.”
ESCO Energy Services of Marion was the general contractor for the project. Altorfer Power Systems of Cedar Rapids, Latham & Associates of Cedar Rapids and WEndler Engineering of South Amana were also project leaders. Amana Society Service Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amana Society Inc.