Traverse City Light & Power Board Votes To Use 100 Percent Renewable Energy By 2040

Traverse City is now one step closer to running on 100 percent renewable energy.

In a five to one vote, The Traverse City Light & Power board voted on a goal to be 100 percent renewable by 2040.

For months, the board has been working to update their strategic plan which didn’t have any renewable energy goals; something most board members wanted to change.

Now they have a three step plan to include renewable energy – 15 percent by 2021, 40 percent by 2025 and 100 percent  by 2040.

While the plan is still being nailed down, those living in Traverse City shouldn’t notice a huge change over the years.

“We’re looking right now at two very large scale solar projects downstate and we’re invested in a large wind farm in McBain and then another one that should be operational by January in the thumb region in Michigan,” said Tim Arends, executive director of Traverse City Light & Power.

And even with many projects downstate, there could still be a few solar panels throughout the city like the ones already on M-72.

The chair of the board did not support this saying it’s not achievable and incredibly expensive.

“I don’t believe this is an aspirational goal,” said chairman Pat McGuire. “What we’re doing is a strategic plan and right now the only plan you can have to achieve 100% is to sit on your butt and wait for technology to come along and make it affordable and it’s not affordable right now.”

But there were many people in support of the goal, including the mayor.

“The providers are out there, they say we’re paying too much it could be cheaper with this power,” said Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers. “All the articles I’ve been reading say the price is going down so I’m really hopeful that you guys will support this goal and make it a reality for the city of Traverse City.”