Traverse City Light & Power Scraps Plan for Biomass Plant, Opts for Gas

June 28 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance) -- Traverse City Light & Power, the Michigan-based municipal utility, has put on hold plans to replace a coal-fired power plant with a biomass project and is studying building a natural gas plant instead.

The wood-fueled, 10-megawatt plant would have helped Traverse City Light & Power meet its previously announced goal of meeting 30 percent of electricity requirements with renewable energy by 2020, the company said in a press release. Its board will hold a session to discuss the shift in direction and re- evaluate strategic goals in July.

“We’ve listened to many of our ratepayers tell us they don’t know enough about biomass and some have suggested they are more comfortable with natural gas as a power generation resource, even though natural gas is not a renewable energy,” said Chairman Mike Coco.

In a survey commissioned by the utility released in April 2010, 53.5 percent of local resident and business respondents said that they supported the project.

Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard, which requires that utilities derive 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015, would be “met without difficultly,” Executive Director Ed Rice said in the statement.

The utility’s agreements to buy power from the nearby Heritage Stoney Corners Wind Farm and 2 megawatts of power from landfill gas plants that will be built by Granger Electric should be sufficient to meet the renewable benchmark, Rice said.

To contact the reporter of this story: Ehren Goossens at at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

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