BWL’s Lansing Energy Tomorrow plan is vitally important to the future of Mid-Michigan: It will guide how the BWL will meet the region’s energy needs well into the future. In 2016, the Lansing Board of Water and Light worked with a Citizens’ Advisory Committee to determine how to replace the power Eckert generates.
BWL customers told the citizens’ committee they want to replace Eckert with energy that’s affordable, reliable and much cleaner than the coal used today. They want the BWL to deliver a reliable and affordable energy plan that improves air quality, attracts business and supports development.
The plan proposed by the BWL’s citizens’ committee gives us all of the above.
A substantial increase in clean wind power. Nearly 85 megawatts of wind will be added to the BWL’s already existing 20 megawatts of wind. 120 megawatts of clean solar power by 2030, making the BWL Michigan’s leader in solar energy. And enough cleaner natural gas power to keep rates affordable, and to ensure the reliable energy source Lansing homeowners and businesses expect and demand.
Also part of the plan are new energy-saving technologies and programs that will give BWL customers the ability to manage their own energy use. Under the plan, the BWL will be Michigan’s cleanest electric utility, with 40 percent of our power from clean energy by 2030. That means improved air quality and environmental health. This plan continues the BWL’s innovation and leadership in moving away from coal to a much cleaner energy portfolio that is also affordable and reliable.
To keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter, our community relies on power that’s ready whenever we need it for our homes, businesses, hospitals, schools and large industrial plants. To ensure the reliable electric supply Lansing needs, the plan includes replacing Eckert with more power from natural gas. Natural gas is the reliable power source Lansing customers expect and demand. Natural gas can be turned on quickly to meet spikes in demand or to cover gaps in production from wind or solar.
The citizens’ committee understood the BWL’s history of affordable rates. So they carefully considered various alternatives to replace the energy from the Eckert plant. Their recommendation balanced affordability and reliability with renewable choices. The result is a plan that will keep BWL rates affordable while also being flexible enough to adapt if natural gas gets too expensive.
The BWL has a plan to replace the coal-fired power from its Eckert Power Station with a cleaner mix of energy from wind, solar, and natural gas and make the BWL Michigan’s cleanest electric utility. The plan also gives the BWL flexibility to add even more clean energy in the future, assuming new technologies continue to make renewable power more affordable and reliable. The BWL will take advantage of new technology and opportunities and will review this plan every four years.
Frequently Asked Questions
It includes the Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) process which will specify how the BWL will replace the Eckert Power Station, 1950s era-coal fired plant that will close by 2020, and prepare for the Clean Power Plan, EPA’s regulations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The IRP process will be based on consideration of costs to customers, ensuring a reliable energy source for the region, environmental stewardship, managing future uncertainty and risks, federal regulations, local-generation capacity, and economic development.
BWL’s Lansing Energy Tomorrow Plan also includes the five-year, $101 million Transmission & Distribution Improvement Project, which is already underway.
With its three tall towers that are visible for miles, the Eckert Power Station is located along the Grand River just south of downtown Lansing. Eckert generates about one-third of the energy in the BWL’s service territory.