- A municipal utility in Michigan is aiming to reach 100% renewable energy by 2040, pressed into action by plans to close the state's coal facilities, local media report. Traverse City Light & Power (TCLP) is the first power company in the state to announce such a goal, adopting it Tuesday in a 5-1 vote with the lone holdout voicing concerns about the price impacts.
- DTE Energy and Consumers Energy have announced plans to phase out their use of coal and will close two major plants beginning in 2030. Traverse City gets about 40% of its energy from plants run by the two companies.
- In its strategic plan, the utility acknowledges the challenge and opportunity. TCLP's portfolio is currently about 12% renewables, and so the plan calls for an all-hands approach to managing and meeting demand: time-of-use rates, demand response, electric vehicles and energy storage.
What might have been a tough sell in the past — pursuing an all-renewables portfolio — is looking possible to a wider range of power companies. The closure of two major coal plants means TCLP has to go searching for replacement power: gas is an option, but the proliferation of renewables and other tools to manage demand means it may not be necessary.
Tim Arends, TCLP's executive director, told the Record Eagle that he is confident the city can reach 40% renewables by 2025 — an interim goal the board adopted. But reaching 100% by 2040, "that's a long time from now and a lot of questions to answer and find out how the technology evolves."
"As typical generation sources such as coal-fired generation transitions and continues to decommission, the utility must look toward other resources such as natural gas, renewable energy and battery storage," the plan says, while also invoking efficiency, demand management strategies and other grid edge developments.
TCLP's announcement highlights the ripple effects of coal's decline. Energy News Network points out that DTE's Belle River and Consumers' J.H. Campbell plants, both slated for closure, supply almost a dozen municipalities, and a public power agency owns a chunk of each as well.