KANSAS CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon flipped the switch Tuesday on Kansas City Power & Light’s new $2 billion power plant near Weston, Mo., lauding the utility’s vision but openly wondering if another coal-fired plant would ever be built in the state.
Iatan 2, an 850-megawatt power plant, was generating enough electricity Tuesday to light half a million homes. At its peak, the five-year effort required 4,000 construction workers. They spent five million hours building the plant at a total payroll of $500 million.
“These are exciting times for power in this state,” Nixon said at the dedication, which state officials and KCP&L employees and executives also attended.
Nixon said the plant will help keep Missouri’s electric rates below the national average, making it more attractive for new businesses.
The Iatan 2 plant, by slashing emissions of nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide, will be among the cleanest-burning coal-fired power plants in operation. It will also produce less carbon dioxide than an average U.S. plant, but it will still be a large contributor of the global-warming gas.
Nixon said he would never say never to another coal-fired plant in Missouri. But he pointed out that the regulatory uncertainty regarding future efforts to curb carbon dioxide makes the future of such plants questionable.