Lansing, Mich., brings new REO Town cogen on-line

The first new utility power plant built in Michigan in 25 years – the Lansing Board of Water & Light’s (BWL) REO Town cogeneration plant – is fully operational following July 1 ceremonies.

The cogeneration plant is the BWL’s first new power plant in 40 years, the board noted in a July 1 statement. More than 250 guests joined BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark in starting the plant, including: Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero; U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.); Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Brighton); and BWL Board of Commissioner and Chair Sandra Zerkle.

“BWL’s REO Town cogeneration plant is among the most clean and efficient in Michigan and the U.S.,” said Lark. “This state-of-the-art cogeneration plant scores a major victory for the environment. And, we’re proud that the project has been called a ‘game changer’ for economic development in the Lansing region.”

Located at 1203 S. Washington Ave. in Lansing, the $182m project includes a new cogen power plant, new headquarters office building, and restored Grand Trunk Western Railroad depot, to be used as a meeting place for the BWL Board of Commissioners.

The cogen generates up to 300,000 pounds of steam for 225 steam customers in downtown Lansing – replacing the Moores Park Steam Plant. It also turns out 100 MW of clean and highly reliable electricity – providing 20% of BWL’s electric generation.

The plant is BWL’s first natural gas-fired generating plant, and it’s the BWL’s first cogeneration plant. It is a cleaner, greener and energy-efficient facility, allowing the BWL to:

  • Slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50% compared to the coal-fired steam and electric units that the new plant will replace.
  • Eliminate the need to burn 351,000 tons of coal compared to the steam and electric units that the new plant will replace.
  • Lower mercury and SO2 emissions by over 99%, and NOx by over 85% compared to the coal-fired boilers that are now retired.

Since the decision was made to build the power plant, natural gas prices have fallen dramatically further reducing costs to fuel the plant, the board noted.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light – Michigan’s largest municipally-owned utility founded in 1885 – delivers water, electric, steam and chilled water service to more than 100,000 residential and business customers.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.