The Grand Haven Board of Light and Power on July 25 reported that its renewable energy portfolio has increased from 9.4% in 2019 to 22% in 2022 and is on track to reach 28% by 2025.
David Walters, general manager of the Michigan public power utility, presented an update to the Board of Directors on July 20, during which he shared the latest data and developments related to the BLP’s renewable energy portfolio and environmental sustainability programs.
“We continue our intentional strategy of buying into renewable energy contracts when and where it makes sense. We are always mindful of the need to stay balanced and not throw all of our eggs into one basket,” said Walters. “Our customers count on the utility to provide reliable and affordable energy, as well as the necessary move toward sustainable sources of power. But we have to be smart about those decisions and look at things holistically, in service of our customers,” he added.
Recently, the BLP collaborated with Michigan Public Power Agency to increase its mix of renewable energy, adding 5.85 megawatts of solar capacity from Calhoun Solar. The addition translates to 12,000 megawatt-hours from the project per year.
This latest project is in addition to two wind turbine projects and four other solar energy projects the BLP has entered into recently.
The BLP worked with MPPA to pool resources with other municipal providers in the state to make the development possible and economical.
Calhoun Solar is a solar farm located in Calhoun County that went online in Spring 2023 and provides energy to the same regional network grid where BLP and other similar utilities make power purchases.
In addition to the renewable energy portfolio, staff informed the Board that the BLP has invested over $3.6 million in energy optimization and waste reduction efforts which is cumulatively saving over 30,000 megawatt-hours each year or more than 10% of energy needs while at the same time reducing electrical system demand by over 3.6 megawatts.
“These efforts serve as another example of the BLP’s approach to managing the utility by bolstering the sustainability pillar in a way that also considers reliability and affordability as it continues its commitment to diversify its power purchases,” the utility said.
The BLP serves approximately 15,000 customers in the City of Grand Haven, City of Ferrysburg, Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Robinson Townships.