Grand Haven Board Of Light And Power

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Just released – Your BLP Energy Rate Guide Fiscal Year 2019


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Happy 4th of July

Consultant addresses Sims plant report at BLP meeting

Article by Alex Doty – Grand Haven Tribune 

The consultant tasked with evaluating the Board of Light & Power’s 35-year-old Sims III generating station on Harbor Island attended Thursday afternoon’s BLP board meeting to address the firm’s recently released report, which notes a large investment is needed over the next several years to keep the coal-fired plant safe and reliable.

Black & Veatch is the original design engineer for Sims III, and also provides ongoing monitoring of the plant.

Brad Saad, the firm’s operations and maintenance consultant, noted during his presentation that $35 million would be required for continued safe and reliable operation of Sims III beyond the next five years. If no action is taken, he said there’s a risk of possible equipment and/or catastrophic failure.

“It’s basically worn out,” Saad said. “The equipment is old and it just needs to be replaced.”

And Saad noted that replacement of equipment would just be in-kind replacement of what’s there, and not any modernization or upgrade of the plant.

The report recommends that the BLP invest $4.4 million in the short term to address issues related to safety of workers and plant operation, and any future investments in the plant to extend its life beyond 2020 be minimized in order to shut it down by June 2020. This move, analysts say, would allow the BLP to avoid the costs associated with repairs and overhauls, and compliance with new regulatory rules coming into play the next several years.

“Operating Unit III in its current condition for an extended period of time just doesn’t make much economic sense,” Saad said.

Saad noted that the closure would allow the municipal utility to provide more economical power options to its customers, including a mix of market electric purchases and a new local generation component.

“There’s much less-expensive options that Grand Haven can consider for replacement of its power supply,” he said. “Grand Haven is in a real good position right now.”

The study notes that if the BLP wants to own and control some of its own power generation, it is recommended that the utility consider smaller, flexible generation technologies such as aeroderivative gas turbines or reciprocating internal combustion engines. These technologies would give the BLP the flexibility to quickly come online and meet demand while minimizing reliance on external sources.

Sims staffing addressed
Also addressed at Thursday’s meeting was the issue of Sims staffing related to the power plant’s closure.

BLP Power Supply Manager Erik Booth noted that the June 2020 option is the best time for the plant to close from a staffing perspective.

Under normal circumstances, the plant would have 39 total employees, but it is currently at 27 total employees as the utility begins to transition to the June 2020 closure, Booth said. Once Sims is closed, and with a local generation component part of the future plan, he said there would likely be a total of 13 employees.

The transition can be made through staff attrition if production is ramped down over the next two years, Booth said. By 2020, three production employees will be retired, two will be eligible for retirement and seven production department employees will be eligible for retirement in the next 2-4 years, he noted.

There would also be opportunities for Sims workers to transition to other departments and roles at the BLP.

But if the plant’s life is extended beyond 2020, Booth said they would need to hire additional employees in order to ease the workload on the current staff. That would mean layoffs once the plant is eventually closed.

“Our employees are shouldering a huge workload to help the BLP with this transition,” Booth said. “Current staffing levels are not sustainable in the long term.”

June 28, 2018 Board of Directors Meeting:
Utility Workers Union of America Local 582 – Letter to the Community
GHBLP Condition Assessment Presentation – Bradly R. Saad, P.E., Black & Veatch
Michigan Public Power Agency Presentation – Thomas Weeks, MPPA
Staffing Analysis in Preparation for Sims Closure – Erik Booth, Power Supply Manager
June 28, 2018 Board Meeting Video

Falcon chicks banded at Sims

Article from Grand Haven Tribune, Alex Doty

Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials say it was much easier this year to band three male peregrine falcon chicks nesting 240 feet up on the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power’s emissions stack on Harbor Island.

All three of the males produced at the nest box this year appeared healthy, DNR officials said.

“We thought at first one might be a female because the females are a little bit larger,” Kalejs said. “We tried a female band first, and it was so big and so much play on it that the male band fit much better.”

Kalejs noted that this year’s banding occurred later in the season than prior years. In 2017, the falcon chicks were banded in early June.

“It is certainly outside of the normal time frame we’ve seen with Grand Haven birds,” he said.

The wintry weather seen around Grand Haven this past spring could have had an effect on the reproduction process, Kalejs noted.

“We had some weird weather in April,” he said. “It could be something as simple as an aberration in the weather patterns from what we’ve seen in recent years.”

To date, the Grand Haven nest site has produced 45 peregrine falcon chicks — 25 females and 20 males — noted BLP Administrative Services Manager Renee Molyneux. The first chicks reproduced in the box were back in 2001.

Peregrine falcons were listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1970, after their Midwest population was eliminated in the mid-1960s due to problems with the pesticide DDT. In 1999, following extensive restoration efforts, the peregrine was removed from the federally endangered species list, but it remains on the Michigan endangered species list.

Earlier this year, Kalejs banded three falcon chicks at the Consumers Energy J.H. Campbell Generating Complex in Port Sheldon Township. The three birds banded at the Consumers plant brought the total to 42 chicks that have hatched there since 2004.

There were also falcons banded at nesting sites in Grand Rapids, where boxes are located at Grand Valley State University and the Kent County Courthouse.

2018 Pole Line Rebuild Projects


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Grand Haven, Thursday, May 31, 2018 — The Board of Light and Power will be placing the Sims power plant back on-line June 1 after a planned three-month spring maintenance shut-down period.

Although the plan was to run Sims through March 16, Sims tripped off-line unexpectedly on February 25 when debris carried by abnormally high river flooding blocked flow to the unit’s condenser. Boiler tube repairs extended the “forced outage” to March 1 when plant personnel determined not to return the unit to service for only the two remaining weeks before the regularly planned spring outage.

David Walters, General Manager stated, “While Sims was offline, the BLP purchased power from the Michigan Public Power Agency (MPPA), under its long-term Energy Services Agreement.” Sims has been off-line 38% of the time over the five year period from 2013-2017. “Power is routinely purchased from third-parties through the Agency when Sims is off-line, to supplement local generation as may be required to meet the BLP’s load, or as may be economi-cal” Walters said.

The Sims summer operations plan is to run from June 1 to August 31, generating ade-quate energy to meet the BLP system load and sell power to the wholesale market (approximate-ly 85,300 MWh to meet our load and about 15,000 MWh of market sales) – using approximately 64% of its available capacity during this period.

Under exiting plans, the unit would again come off-line August 31 and remain shutdown for the next three months during the planned fall maintenance period. This three-months on, three-months off operational schedule would continue through June 1, 2020 (24 months), at which time the BLP has proposed that Sims will be taken off-line permanently. This decision is currently under review by the Grand Haven City Council. Planned maintenance downtime is scheduled during the spring and fall when power costs in the wholesale marketplace are relative-ly low and customer demand is additionally low.

Happy Memorial Day

Waving the flag is grand, but please be careful when raising the flag pole to fly her on. Read an article from Safe Electricty titled “Flagpole Touches Power Line With Tragic Consequences,” and more information on flagpole safety.

Our Service Center will be closed on Monday – May 28th in observance of the holiday.

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