City council approves upgrades to 43-year-old turbine

Mar 5, 2014

The Columbia City Council voted Monday for improvements on Boiler 8 at the Municipal Power Plant. Boiler 8 is a natural gas-operating turbine and has been operating since 1970.

Tad Johnson, director of Columbia Water and Light, said the upgrades would comply with upcoming emission regulations. The improvements are expected to reduce nitrogen oxide output. 

Mayor Bob McDavid said Columbia needs a backup plan for renewable resources.

“Some of the better renewable sources – for example, wind – it’s an intermittent source, so if you’re going to rely on wind, you’ve got to have a backup plan for when it’s not blowing, and coal is really not a good way to do that," McDavid said. "[With] natural gas you can turn the turbine on if the wind’s not blowing. If it’s blowing, turn it off.”

Some members of the community objected to the project. The city council voted unanimously for the project to move forward.