TC Light & Power Approve 2 Solar Projects

On Tuesday’s Light & Power agenda are two solar projects that would boost the TCLP renewable energy portfolio.

They both passed.

The landmark wind turbine on M-72 is an early example of Traverse City Light & Power’s vision.

TC City Commissioner and Light & Power board member Tim Werner says, “Lots of negotiations have taken place. I anticipate a pretty good discussion tonight about whether this is something worth pursuing.”

One of two projects will expand a field of solar panels, the solar array on M-72 right next to the wind turbine at the west end of Grand Traverse County.

Daren Dixon is the TCLP Operations Manager. He says they will be placing new arrays in that same vicinity.

The second project will see Light and Power buy 7.6 megawatts of power from the Michigan Public Power Agency, from a solar array downstate.

Dixon says, “That would be 7.6 megawatts of solar, new solar, which would meet the city’s goal and then leave some left over.”

That project will bring Traverse City government to 100% renewable energy usage.

Werner says that second project will actually bring a cost-savings to TCLP.  “The price point on that is such that, all of our rates will actually decrease. The electricity is so inexpensive because the project is of such a scale. It’ll drive down our rates. Imperceptibly, but it’s still a low enough price point.”

The local array on M-72 could come at a small premium, but Werner says it’s worth the discussion. “What is our environment worth, what is our health worth? We hear all the time about the effects of coal, coal-fired power plants, on especially our air but even our water – Great Lakes – everything’s connected.”

Dixon adds, “Having some local renewable generation means we don’t have power coming across the lines from out of state.”

What it also means, is that TCLP would inch 1% closer to the goal of 40% renewable energy for all customers by 2025.

Dixon says, “What it would do is bring the utility’s goal, including everything, we’d be at 26% renewable for the utility.”

A vote on both projects could come at Tuesday night’s meeting.