NE power plant begins to come down

Published 9:54 am Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A familiar site on the outskirts of Austin will be gone by the time the snow melts this spring as Austin Utilities completes the demolition of the Northeast Power Plant located in NE Austin at 2901 11th ST NE. 

Community members will see more activity over the next few months as the demolition phase of the project will begin in January and is expected to be completed in April.

 Veit & Company, Inc. was selected as the contractor for the demolition through a public bidding process. Veit’s work started in late November inside the plant removing asbestos and equipment. All useable motors, power plant electric equipment and steel will be refurbished by Veit and reused by others who purchase the recycled items. Other items of value in the plant such as office equipment and miscellaneous items were sold at an online auction held June 2021 by a company that specializes in commercial and industrial equipment auctions. The event brought in $14,600 in revenue.

 The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2020 but was delayed because of the pandemic. During that time, Austin Utilities was able to use their own staff to start the demolition of some of the out-buildings saving approximately $100,000 off the cost of the demolition. Veit staff was hired to complete the balance of the project due to the presence of asbestos and the need for specialized knowledge of commercial demolition. The total project cost is $1.056 million.

 This does not account for savings from AU staff work, the auction, and anticipated savings from repurposing some materials. One example of this repurposing is the onsite concrete that will be crushed and reused on future Austin Utilities projects as a money saving initiative. 

 There are no future plans for the site at this time, however, Austin Utilities continues to own a substation and wellhouse located on the property. The site will continue to be maintained by Austin Utilities. 

The 30-megawatt power plant was completed in 1971 at a dedication event touting it as the Power for the Future. It was phase 3 of a four-part project to provide Austin with reliable power. Harold Lamon Sr was the Superintendent and William Dunlap Sr was the Secretary to the Board at the time of opening. Austin Utilities Board of Commissioners serving at the time were Richard C. Baudler, Alex Hirsch, Willard Block, Roger L. Svejkovsky, and Richard Schaefer. The total cost to build the plant was $7.5 million dollars. The Northeast Power Plant was decommissioned in 2016 due to outdated and inefficient technology.  For more information about the history of the Northeast Power Plant, you can access a copy of the original dedication brochure at www.austinutilities.com