February 12, 2020 Read More →

J.B. Sims coal plant in Michigan closing for good this week

MLive.com:

The boilers at Grand Haven’s Sims power plant will be turned off a final time this week, marking the final end of the 37-year-old coal-burning facility. The decision to shut down the plant was made nearly two years ago, but the city had been planning for its demise since before then, said David Walters, general manager of the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power.

The city will now get its electricity from other power providers – just as it already has been doing during spring and fall months for about the last five years, Walters said. Rates are expected to remain the same for customers, he said.

The J.B. Sims No. 3 power unit was opened in 1983, and a couple years later, its No. 1 and No. 2 units were shut down. All three will be demolished starting this June, a process expected to last through summer 2021, Walters said. Bierlein Construction of Midland, which is finishing up the removal of the B.C. Cobb Plant in Muskegon, was awarded a $5 million Sims demolition contract, he said.

The board had recorded the official closure date of the Sims plant as June 1, knowing that the date would be closer to mid-February considering the amount of coal it had left to burn, Walters said. That inventory had dwindled to the point where on Tuesday, Feb. 11, Walters said the plant was “coming to a conclusion in the next day or so.”

While the coal plant can meet current environmental standards, it doesn’t fit with the push to reduce greenhouse gases to combat climate change, Walters said. It also needs about $35 million in improvements to remain operational, and it still would be an expensive plant to operate, he said.

“There was no justification at all to invest that kind of money,” he said. “The economics are not there.”

[Lynn Moore]

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