March 27, 2024

Grand Haven BLP Will Use Solar Energy to Power More Houses

The recent $4.6 million deal between the Board of Light and Power and the developer of a solar farm, presently being built, will result in an increased number of homes in the Grand Haven area being supplied with solar energy.

The 20-Year Solar Energy Deal

Ranger Power and the Grand Haven BLP signed a 20-year deal, and next year, the latter is anticipated to start generating solar energy in Washtenaw County.

A press release from the BLP states that the 2.15 megawatts of power is sufficient to power roughly 490 houses annually.

Fifteen thousand consumers in the townships of Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, Spring Lake, and Robinson receive power from the BLP.

Diversifying Towards Solar Energy

The utility disintegrated the historic J.B. Sims coal-fired power plant in 2021 after decommissioning it in 2020. It was formerly situated on Harbor Island.

Since then, the BLP has worked to diversify the sources of energy it uses, such as natural gas, solar, and wind.

With the addition of the Washtenaw County Railsplitter project, the BLP will be acquiring solar energy totalling more than 23 megawatts.

Erik Booth, manager of BLP operations and power supply, said in a prepared statement, "We have now made commitments with six solar projects, two wind power projects, and one battery storage project which helps us continue to grow and diversify our renewable energy portfolio responsibly."

"We have used a laddering investment strategy, which is similar to a personal investment strategy, to spread our investments across multiple baskets to manage risk and safeguard our community from market fluctuations." He added.

Increasing the Renewable Energy Resources

The Michigan Public Power Agency facilitated the purchase of Ranger Power solar power by organizing the combined purchasing power of its participating utilities.

BLP Board Chair Mike Westbrook issued a prepared statement stating, "The BLP's strategic direction is to maintain a sustainable, economical, and diversified power supply portfolio consistent with proven energy risk management practices."

"This means that we intend to responsibly increase our renewable energy resources while maintaining a balance between affordability, sustainability, and dependability," Mike noted.

Solar Energy Investment Grows Under BLP

Earlier this month, the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power introduced the White Tail Solar project, a 2.15-megawatt initiative scheduled to start operating commercially in summer 2025, supporting the BLP's goal of achieving 28% renewable energy by 2025 through a 20-year power purchase agreement costing $4,662,900.

BLP's solar portfolio surpasses 23 megawatts, bolstered by White Tail Solar, Calhoun Solar, wind projects, and battery storage, showcasing a strategic investment strategy endorsed by Erik Booth to mitigate risks and advance renewable energy goals.

The BLP's involvement in the Michigan Public Power Agency Energy Services Project highlights its collaborative approach to energy procurement, leveraging collective purchasing for cost competitiveness and resource efficiency.

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