Michigan city to pursue 114-MW gas plant, wind power

Holland, Mich., plans to develop a 114-MW natural gas, combined-cycle power plant and will contract for wind energy in order to address generation needs in the next few years.

After a year of analysis, Holland City Council voted 8-1 on Dec. 4 to approve a Holland Board of Public Works staff proposal for new electric generation that should cut greenhouse gases and other emissions.

The gas project has an estimated cost of $182m and could enter service in 2016.

In a news release, Holland officials noted that this new gas plant will be built somewhere other than the existing James DeYoung coal plant site.

“Locating the new project elsewhere will address the difficulty of construction on the back filled DeYoung site,” according to the Holland BPW statement. “Additionally, a waterfront location is not necessary to deliver fuel or cooling water to the new project. Alternative sites are closer to both the proposed gas pipeline route and snowmelt/district heating networks. Pursuing this option will also preserve access to our 138 kV high-voltage distribution network as well as major roadways.”

Holland still needs to select a site for the gas plant and hire an owner’s engineer and other service providers.

Regarding the DeYoung station, Holland will continue to run the existing units on coal until regulations require that either a significant capital investment in pollution control equipment is required or the units need to cease burning coal.

“As regulations stand today, that would mean that JDY #5 would cease burning coal in the next 3-4 years. The regulations that impact JDY #3 and #4 are being reconsidered and the outcome is not known at this time,” the Holland BPW said in its statement.

When the units stop burning coal, DeYoung will continue to operate as a gas-fueled peaking resource.

Holland also expanding renewable use

As part of the same plan, the City Council also agreed to a 10-year power purchase agreement with E.ON. for 15 MW of wind energy produced by a facility in Elwood, Ind.

“This option would complement our current portfolio of landfill gas and biomass resources while providing power with excellent pricing. Additionally, this option would preserve the capital needed for other investments as its power is paid for as it is received,” the Holland BPW said.

Holland also expects to complete a 20-year contract with Beebe Wind LLC for about 17 MW of wind power produced near Ithaca, Mich.

The pricing of the Beebe Wind option is competitive with the Wildcat I project, however, it is dependent upon the extension of Production Tax Credits in their current form. HBPW staff would work to build a group of Michigan municipal entities to fully subscribe the development and thus acquire the most advantageous pricing, the board said.

The HBPW Board of Directors recommended this plan of action on Nov. 12. “We’re very pleased to have received the strong support of Holland’s Mayor and City Council, and we’re prepared now to move forward with the next steps in the project,” said Dave Koster, HBPW general manager.

The Holland BPW is a community-owned enterprise providing utility services to nearly 28,000 business and residential customers

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.