Power Plant machinery: Waiting for the bidsRequests from potential buyers to extend bidding for five River Falls Power Plant dual-fuel combustion turbine engines was recently granted.
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
Requests from potential buyers to extend bidding for five River Falls Power Plant dual-fuel combustion turbine engines was recently granted.
River Falls Municipal Utilities (RFMU) Manager Carl Gaulke said there’s enough interest in the bidding process that he decided to extend the deadline from Sept. 15 to Oct. 17. Several interested parties asked for more time to prepare their bids.
Gaulke said he’s already received two bids, but they will remain sealed until the extended date for opening bids.
Journal readers may recall that the local power plant has been in shutdown mode since July.
As of the early 21st century, the plant has become obsolete and no longer cost efficient for the way electrical power is transmitted through an intricate web of grids that cover and link Midwestern states and extend to Canada.
River Falls belongs to WPPI, a nonprofit regional energy consortium. WPPI is paying RFMU nearly $3 million to compensate for the closing of the local power plant.
While the power plant can be activated in 10 minutes, it hasn’t been asked to generate power for the WPPI grid in almost four years.
Only two employees, Bob Schwalen and Bruce Lloyd, remain at the local power plant.
They continue to monitor the two hydro-generators from the two dams that generate a tiny portion of water power for the city.
The two employees also are helping to maintain and prepare the equipment and machinery that will eventually be emptied from the power plant building.
The five dual-fuel engines at the power plant for sale are three Cooper Bessemers and two Fairbanks Morse engines.
Gaulke said three companies — in Canada, Ohio and Nebraska — have expressed interest in making some kind of purchase.
“I feel pretty confident we’ll have a buyer for these, but we’re not looking to make a huge profit,” Gaulke said, adding that the goal is to have the engines extricated and shipped out by the end of the year or shortly after.
After that, Gaulke said a structural engineer will be brought in to evaluate the interior layout of the power plant.
For more on this story, please see the Sept. 29 print edition of the River Falls Journal.