ZEELAND – The Zeeland Board of Public Works could be adding more renewable energy to its portfolio in the coming years, eliminating the need to buy energy credits to meet state requirements.
An agreement administered through the Michigan Public Power Agency Energy Services Project Agreement would allow the Zeeland BPW to buy up to 11.796 megawatts (MW) of wind energy from Huron Wind for 20 years.
The MPPA would purchase more than 61 MW of capability, and Zeeland would commit to receive 19.37 percent of the energy and to pay 19.37 percent of the cost.
The BPW would pay $55 per MW-hour. The total price would be based solely on energy delivered. The wind farm is expected to be in service no later than Dec. 31, 2018.
The Zeeland City Council agreed to the proposal in a unanimous vote at its June 6 meeting.
The wind project would provide more than 40,000 MW-hours of energy each year and allow the BPW to meet its 10 percent renewable energy requirement put in place by the state. Combined with the BPW’s other renewable energy projects, this would bring the BPW’s renewable energy portfolio to 15 percent of its total.
The under-performing Autumn Hills landfill methane gas project has forced the BPW to buy more than 42,000 renewable energy credits in recent years to remain compliant with the state program.
“I think it’s producing less than what was originally projected,” City Manager Tim Klunder said, adding production has been inconsistent and expensive.
If the wind farm performs as expected, it would help the BPW to hedge against any potential future renewable requirement increases or allow it to drop a lower performing project, such as Autumn Hills.
The wind project is incumbent on other municipal utilities buying the other 80.63 percent; otherwise it cannot move forward.
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