August 29, 2018 Read More →

Lansing muni remains committed to coal phase-out

Lansing City Pulse:

A new rule proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency last week would ease pollution restrictions and squeeze more life out of the nation’s aging fleet of coal-fired power plants, but the rule will have no effect on Lansing, according to [Board of Water & Light] General Manager Dick Peffley.

“We don’t plan on making any changes,” Peffley said. “We want to be out of the coal business here in Lansing by 2025. Eckert Station will still close at the end of 2020 and Erickson by 2025. Those plans are set in place.”

The new rule would allow utilities to refurbish or upgrade aging coal-fired plants without having to install costly pollution control equipment, but Peffley said the BWL’s two coal plants are past the point of no return.

“We’ve already scaled back our maintenance and capital improvements in the plants,” he said. “They don’t have 10 years left in them. You don’t want to fill the gas tank and overhaul the engine for a car that’s going to the junkyard.”

Peffley said the BWL is not interested in buying into the regulatory “flavor of the month.” The utility’s portfolio has shifted definitively from coal to gas and renewables, anchored by the REO Town Cogeneration Plant, built in 2013, and a $500 million new gas plant, scheduled to break ground next year. The BWL is committed to 80 percent reduction in its carbon footprint by 2025.

“We saw the path the Obama administration was going down, and it aligned with the closing of our plants through age, so we picked this path and stuck with it,” Peffley said. “This new change in rules could benefit some utilities around the country, but it’s definitely not going to help us.”

More: BWL sticking with no-coal future

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