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Michigan's Lansing BWL to close coal-fired power plant by end of 2025

Michigan's Lansing Board of Water and Light has agreed to retire its 160-megawatt, Erickson coal-fired power plant by the end of 2025 under a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club.

Stephen Serkaian, executive director of public affairs at BWL, on Aug. 25 said that the public power utility is pleased with its settlement with the environmental group because the agreement supports the BWL's commitment to a clean energy future for the Lansing region as outlined by both the integrated resource plan recommendations of the BWL's Citizen Advisory Committee and the 2016 BWL strategic plan.

Serkaian noted that the IRP and the strategic plan called for a mix of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and new highly efficient natural gas generation to replace BWL's coal-based generation and maintain a reliable, low cost and environmentally sound portfolio.

"To that end the agreement adopts the BWL's strategic plan of 30% clean energy by the end of 2020, and encompasses the IRP goal of 40% clean energy by 2030 to reach 35% clean energy in 2025," he said.

In an Aug. 23 news release, the Sierra Club said that BWL has committed to adding at least 106 MW of new wind and solar energy generation by Dec. 31, 2020.

The utility's coal plants "have served our community well for many years, but by 2025 the Erickson power plant will be over 50 years old - 13 years older than its original design life, and ready for retirement," Serkaian said.

Board of Water and Light previously announced plans to shut another coal-fired plant

In 2015, the utility said that it would close its oldest power plant, the coal-fired Eckert plant, within four years.

The 375-MW Eckert plant's coal-fired generation units were installed over several years, beginning in the mid-1950s. It includes six electric generating units, all of which are scheduled to close by 2020, the utility notes on its website.

Utility to achieve 80 percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030

By expanding its clean energy portfolio and closing its coal plants, the utility will achieve an 80% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Serkaian noted.

The BWL "was Michigan's first utility to adopt a renewable energy goal and expects to continue working with the Sierra Club and other interested groups in the Lansing area to continue promoting a sustainable energy future for our region," he said.