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Renewable Energy

The Lansing Board of Water & Light was Michigan’s first utility to adopt a renewable energy portfolio. Our Board of Commissioners adopted a policy in 2007 requiring the BWL to provide 7 percent of its retail sales from renewable energy sources by 2015. In our 2008 Integrated Resource Plan, the BWL committed to providing all future energy growth from renewable sources and energy efficiency programs.

In 2009 the BWL accepted the challenge to meet the State of Michigan’s requirement for 10 percent of the utility’s retail sales from renewable energy by 2016. The BWL submits reports to the Michigan Public Service Commission on their PA 295 compliance and future plans. Also in 2009, the Board of Commissioners approved a net metering program that enables customers to install a renewable energy system and connect to the BWL electric distribution system.

Wind

In 2014, the BWL added the first wind energy component to its renewable energy portfolio through a power purchase agreement with Exelon Wind. The wind energy comes from eight Nordex N117 wind turbines, which are designed for moderate wind sites, located in Gratiot County. Each BWL wind turbine sits atop a 300 foot tower, and produces up to 2.4 megawatts of electricity. All eight wind turbines generate about 60,000 megawatt hours annually of electricity, which is enough to power over 6,600 homes. The wind turbines in Gratiot County provide 26 percent of the BWL’s renewable energy portfolio.

Solar Power

The BWL owns and maintains the Cedar Street Solar Array across from the John F. Dye Water Conditioning Plant, which consists of 824 photovoltaic panels with a gross generating capacity of 150 kilowatts. This array offsets 250 tons of carbon dioxide annually, equal to emissions from 45 automobiles. The REO Town Headquarters and Cogeneration Plant hosts a smaller solar power system, consisting of 50 solar panels with a gross generating capacity of 13.5 kilowatts. Plans are ongoing to purchase power from a new, much larger solar project to be located in Lansing.

The solar-powered electric vehicle carport located at the Lansing City Market consists of 21 photovoltaic panels with a gross generating capacity of 5 kilowatts. The carport will generate enough clean, renewable energy to allow 1,500 miles of clean driving per month, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 3 tons annually.

Hydro Power

The BWL refurbished the 600 kilowatt south turbine at the Moores Park Dam that had been idle since the mid 1990’s. This unit can generate about 1,100 megawatts annually. The BWL also purchases about 1.7 megawatts of hydro power capacity from Tower/Kleber, two hydro plants operating on the Black River near Cheboygan County. Seven percent of the BWL’s renewable energy portfolio comes from hydro power.

Landfill Gas

Granger Landfill Gas LLC, a local company, is contracted with the BWL to provide up to 12 megawatts of electricity from its landfill gas-powered generators at their Wood Road and Grand River Ave facilities. Methane gas occurs naturally in landfills when organic waste decomposes. The gas is recovered, processed and used as an alternative to natural gas. Recovering methane for our energy needs prevents it from emitting into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. The landfill gas generators provide 67 percent of the BWL’s renewable energy portfolio.

Net Metering

Since 2010, net metering has allowed customers who generate electricity using renewable energy sources to connect to the BWL’s distribution system. Customers send renewable energy back to the electric grid when their generation exceeds their own use. Eligible sources include solar, wind, and biomass systems up to 50 kilowatts.

To learn more about net metering, visit our webpage here.