Michigan municipality going 100% renewable


The Traverse City Light and Power (TCL&P) approved a plan to move the utility toward 100% renewable energy by 2040, becoming the first in the state of Michigan to make such a commitment. The utility is currently at 12% renewable energy. The interim goal is getting to 15% by 2021, and 40% by 2025.

TCL&P has a 75 MW need for capacity, but does not fully own any generation. The municipality was partially driven toward this decision at this specific time due to the pending closure of the Belle River J.H. Campbell coal power plants. The plants are schedule to begin closing in 2030.

In 2016, the Traverse City Commission set a goal of 100% renewables for its city operations. The city has also been developing a community-wide carbon neutral plan, including heating and transportation, to be implemented by 2050.

About a year ago, the city started the process by approving a $75,000 grant to study the process. The utility focused on maintaining a proper cost for the program, and keeping up its high level of reliability, noting that uptime in 2017/2018 analyzed was 99.993%

The Sierra Club is tracking communities which have committed to 100% clean energy, noting that 77 cities, nine counties and Hawaii have committed to 100% renewable energy.

There are other city led types of pledges also – for instance, Chicago, which has committed to power its 900 municipal buildings with 100% renewable electricity by 2025, has joined a seven-city collaboration to request price estimates for renewable electricity. The collaboration, led by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, also includes Los Angeles, Houston, Portland, OR, Orlando, FL, and Evanston, IL.

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