May 24, 2016

New Study Finds LBWL’s Proposed Energy Plan Misses Opportunities for Clean Energy, Customer Savings

May 24, 2016

Media Contacts:
Regina Strong,  

LBWL’s Plan Lacks Definite Retirement Dates for Erickson and Eckert Coal Plants; Overlooks Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Lansing, MI -- Tonightresults of a study on energy options for Lansing-area residents conducted by MSB Energy Associates and Evans Power Consulting for the Sierra Club revealed that LBWL has missed potential cost savings and positive health impacts for Capital Area residents.  According to the study, the savings could be realized by including a wider range of options in Lansing Board of Water and Light’s (LBWL) plan for Lansing’s energy future, which is currently being considered by the utility’s Board of Commissioners.

Study results were presented during the comment period at the LBWL Board of Commissioners meeting this evening.  Expert analysis of publicly available information used to create the LBWL’s Citizens Advisory Committee’s plan revealed serious flaws in the process, which could lead to wasteful, costly and unnecessary investments by the utility.

Significant problems with the IRP Report include:
  • The failure to evaluate an earlier retirement date for the Erickson coal-fired power plant;
  • The failure to include reasonable energy efficiency and demand response goals, which could reduce the need for new capacity;
  • The failure to include all resources in the modeling, leading the model to overpredict the need for capacity by approximately 80-200 MW; and
  • The failure to consider a scenario that would minimize environmental and health impacts.
A poll released last week found that support for clean, renewable energy is strong among Lansing-area voters, with three-quarters of voters voicing preferences for using more renewable energy and energy efficiency over continued reliance on fossil fuels.

Announcing the new report,  Brad van Guilder, Sierra Club Michigan Beyond Coal Campaign's Lansing Organizer released the following statement:

“Our study highlights the fact that LBWL has left out  many options for a cleaner, more responsible energy future for the Lansing area. It is time to set realistic dates for phasing out both the Eckert and Erickson coal power plants to limit potential costs down the road for LBWL and its customers. Pushing the retirement of the Erickson plant too far into the future would incur more health costs for Lansing residents, increase potential costs to meet environmental standards, and delay community planning for a transition away from coal.

“Lansing area residents could benefit greatly from a plan that maximizes both energy efficiency and renewable energy, taking advantage of clean technology that continues to become cheaper and more cost-effective. Instead, the IRP Report proposes to continue to rely on dirty fossil fuels, potentially wasting tens if not hundreds of millions of customer dollars.  

“LBWL must fix the issues identified by our experts and provide the people of Lansing with a fair and transparent understanding of its resource options. LBWL is a publicly-owned utility, and it should be providing the public with the best information and options possible as the city plans its energy future.”