On the heels of Grand Haven’s coal-fired power plant demolition, the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power (GHBLP) has shared designs for redevelopment at the site, including future Operations and Technical Center with combined heat and power (CHP) generation. At a virtual meeting on Tuesday night, GHBLP staff and Progressive AE, the design firm was chosen for the project, shared renders of the redeveloped site, and answered questions from the community.
“The landscape of Harbor Island will look remarkably different with this sustainable, new vision,” said Gerald Witherell, vice-chairperson of the board. “Our customer-owners are our greatest priority, and this design places our community values of reliability, affordability, and environmental responsibility at the forefront.”
GHBLP’s plans for an Operations and Technology Center will take advantage of the regional transmission network connections that connect to the Harbor Island site as well as the proximity to downtown to provide heat for the snowmelt system. Also on site will be the recently updated downtown substation and a dedicated space for future new technologies including advanced energy storage and a community-owned solar project.
About half of GHBLP’s property will be restored to wetlands and turned over to the community. Current renderings show the potential for an expansion of Linear Park with greater public-access to natural areas and the Grand River waterfront.
“The new Operations and Technology Center represents a more sustainable and complementary architecture to the natural area,” said David Shull, principal, industrial practice leader at Progressive AE. “The design is also flexible, and while a portion of it is dedicated to combined heat and power engines now, it can also be used for emerging technologies in the future.”
In alignment with professional recommendations and several years of planning, the Board approved the master plans for the site in October 2020 and approved Progressive AE as the design and engineering firm in November 2020. GHBLP plans to fund the redevelopment project through municipal bonds at an attractive interest rate. GHBLP lowered customer electric rates by 6% over 2016-2017 and has committed to maintaining rates constant throughout this transition, and these current rates are adequate to cover expected annual debt service and fund the expected 5-year capital plan the BLP currently has in place.
“This is an excellent solution that will secure affordable, reliable power for customers while enabling us to confidently continue growing our renewable energy portfolio,” said David Walters, GHBLP General Manager.
The meeting was the final in a series of three community events hosted by GHBLP. A recording of the meeting will be posted on the BLP’s website by Thursday, 2/25.
GHBLP has posted further event details and other news on a dedicated website, which the utility launched in December for community engagement and feedback on current power planning activities. Visit grandhavenpower.org to learn more.
The BLP provides electricity for approximately 14,800 customers in Grand Haven and the surrounding area.