“As we look at the resource mix we have today, even with the (coal-burning) Prairie State Energy Campus (near Lively Grove, Ill.), that is one of the cleanest coal-fired generating stations in the United States,” Maynard said.
Meanwhile, Hamilton is part owner, through the American Municipal Power organization, of a natural-gas generating station in Fremont, Ohio; the Prairie State facility (of which AMP owns about 23 percent); and two natural-gas combustion turbine facilities, in Hamilton itself.
Coal-burning power plants are a significant creator of ozone gases, which scientists say are leading to global warming and also contribute to such health problems as asthma and cardiovascular problems. Butler, Warren and Preble counties last week received grades of F for the numbers of days they have unsafe ozone levels, in the American Lung Association's 2016 State of the Air report.
As part of AMP, Hamilton also buys electricity from the New York Power Authority’s hydroelectric plants on the Niagra River and St. Lawrence Seaway. Hamilton since 1963 has also operated a small hydroelectric plant on a canal along the Great Miami River.
AMP spokesman Kent Carson said his organization since 2000 has evolved from one that helped arrange wholesale power purchases for its member communities to an entity that owns its own power-generating plants.
That was prompted by energy-cost volatility during the early years of this century, when AMP communities like Hamilton sought to stabilize their energy costs.
Wholesale energy-market prices “have been pretty stable the past few years, but there’s been some pretty big dips and pretty big spikes during that time,” Carson said. “And the problem with being that much exposed to the wholesale market is you can’t control your costs over a long term.”
Increasingly moving into greener energy, AMP is building, or recently finished, three other hydroelectric plants on the Ohio River that Hamilton is not a participant in. AMP also is launching solar-energy-production, Carson said.
In another green initiative, Hamilton recently signed a deal with U.S. Gain Clean Fuel to market its compressed natural gas filling station at 2220 S. Erie Blvd. to truckers nationwide.
That fuel source, which creates less pollution than gasoline and diesel, is increasingly being used by heavy trucks.