Lansing Board of Water and Light, that city's municipal utility,
has drafted an integrated resource plan (IRP) that maps out how
it will meet customer demand, environmental compliance and
reliability requirements for the next 20 years.
utility expects to close about 80% of its current generation by
2030, largely coal plants.
The IRP process is intended to vet utility generation plans
against all resources, including energy efficiency measures,
renewable energy and demand management.
plan is expected to result in a 40% clean energy portfolio by
still working on biogenic carbon, makes determinations on fuels
the U.S. EPA has made final determinations on what constitutes a
"legitimate fuel" for biomass energy, its Scientific
Advisory Board (SAB) continues to kick around how to account
carbon emission from wood and other sources of biogenic
The SAB was expected to finalize their findings and reports at an
April 1 meeting — and came close to doing that. At the last
minute the body tossed the issue of forest-based biomass sources
to a technical committee.
While there's consensus on the panel regarding carbon emission
from organic "waste and byproducts" such as farm manure
and food processing leftovers, how forest-based biomass
feedstocks such as commercial thinning and logging residue should
be accounted are still sticking points.
Under the proposed EPA rules, forest-sourced biomass is
considered "carbon neutral" if the carbon emissions
from the power plant is no more than the carbon emissions that
would have occurred from that wood material had it not been
converted to energy.
more than five years of court proceedings and comment periods,
EPA has finalized its Non-Hazardous Secondary Materials rules, designed
to distinguish between ordinary solid wastes and byproducts
used for boiler fuel.
While the agency had determined several years ago that
forest-based wood feedstocks, and fuels processed from wood like
crates and pallets, and scrap tires were legitimate fuels under
its rules, wood-based fuels processed from sources
like railroad ties, construction and demolition wood, and
board and paper products weren't approved until February.
The final rules conclude EPA action that was initiated in 2011
when federal courts ruled the agency has responsibility for
regulating non-hazardous wastes in scope similar to managing
Determining that these materials are "legitimate fuels"
and not "solid waste" is crucial to how power plant
boilers are permitted.
plant closures commence
of Michigan's coal-fired generation started shutting down in
April, with two units at Consumers Energy's B.C. Cobb plant in
Muskegon on April 15. More will follow, including three units at
the J.R. Whiting plant in Luna Pier, and two units at the
Karn-Weadock facility in Bay City where four units will remain
Together these closures total 950 megawatts (MW) of generation
Detroit Edison's Harbor Beach facility, 121 MW, shut down in
Other units slated for
• 2 units at Trenton Channel, Detroit Edison, 240 MW, in 2016
• Endicott Power Plant, Michigan South Central Power Agency in
Litchfield, 55 MW, in 2016
• The Holland Board of Public Works, 63 MW, in 2017
• The Lansing Board of Water and Light's Eckert Plant, 335
MW, in 2018
• Presque Isle Power Plant, Marquette, Wisconsin Electric, 450
MW, in 2020
The closures are part of movement by utilities across the country
to replace aging coal plants with cleaner-burning natural gas and
renewable energy systems.