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GHBLP to Consider Project and Bonding Revisions

Grand Haven Board of Light and Power is expected to consider revisions to the $45 million Sims site redevelopment project and its bond financing plan, including potentially removing the local power generation component and relocating other necessary facilities elsewhere, at their upcoming August 19th meeting.

In 2018, the Board and City Council voted 4-0 and 5-0 respectively to develop a plan for local generation and to provide a heat source for the city’s snowmelt system. City Council’s tabling of the bond vote on Monday combined with decreased community support for local generation, and other utility facilities on the Sims site, likely means the Board will revise and potentially remove components of the bond project.

“We feel that local generation as an option at the Sims site or elsewhere no longer has adequate support to move forward. This Thursday, the Board will discuss alternatives to meeting utility needs and state-mandated capacity requirements without constructing local generation,” said David Walters, GHBLP General Manager.

“The majority of the Board still believes that redeveloping the Sims site is the best plan holistically and financially for our community,” said board chair Jack Smant. “However, with no economical or suitable local alternatives that meet the joint City Council and Board direction, and reduced community support for this combined heat and power option on the Sims site, it is time to reconsider alternative purchases to meet our capacity requirements and alternative facility options to meet our operational needs. Unfortunately, we do not have the time to further evaluate and re-evaluate this option without taking these necessary actions.”

With decreased community support for funding this local generation project to cover the utility’s remaining capacity needs, GHBLP General Manager David Walters is expected to recommend the Board authorize Michigan Public Power Agency (MPPA) to purchase the required capacity from the market, filling the void created by not moving forward with this project.

The Board will also begin evaluating alternatives to the Sims site for the needed Operations & Technical Center to house GHBLP’s employees and technical workspaces, as well as other distribution equipment.

Thursday’s Board Meeting will be held at 4:00 pm at the Grand Haven Community Center at 421 Columbus Ave.

The GHBLP provides electricity for approximately 14,800 customers in Grand Haven and the surrounding area.


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