MARQUETTE - The Marquette Board of Light and Power will be able to meet and possibly exceed Renewable Portfolio Standard mandates set by the state.
The RPS, mandated in a series of bills signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2008, requires utilities in Michigan to have 10 percent of their energy produced by renewable resources by 2015.
BLP Director Kirby Juntila said the utility is on track to meet the mandate through energy produced from its two dams as well as stockpiled Renewable Energy Credits.
Marquette’s Tourist Park Dam, planned for reconstruction this spring at the Dead River site shown above, will help the Board of Light and Power reach state-mandated renewable energy goals. (Journal photo by Andy Nelson-Zaleski)
The BLP's Forestville Dam along with the Tourist Park Dam, which is planned for reconstruction this spring, will generate about 4 percent of the utility's total power output, Juntila said.
The other six percent needed will be covered by RECs the company has been collecting since 2009 through operation of the Forestville Dam.
"We are accumulating RECs by the hydro generation that we had in 2009 and will continue to have in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 we will go to that pool that we've accumulated and apply some percentage of those RECs to the requirements in 2012, 2013, 2014, and then 2015. We project that just the RECS we accumulate between 2009 and 2015, just with our hydro generation, we will be able to use our own RECs that we have produced and not have to go to the open market, compete and purchase RECs from other utilities," Juntila said.
The BLP is producing about 12,000 RECs a year through the Forestville Dam, Juntila said.
The REC program is meant to encourage utilities to use renewable resources in energy production. RECs can be sold to other utilities as a revenue source, Juntila said.
In addition, the BLP has performed two biomass test burns with renewaFUEL biofuel cubes at the Shiras Steam Plant in Marquette, which regularly burns coal.
Made from a composite of collected wood and agricultural feedstocks, the cubes generate the same amount of energy as coal pound-for-pound, but produces less sulfur dioxide, less particulate matter and less acid gases.
"We are encouraged that renewaFUEL has recently announced that they are going to proceed with the facility at K.I. Sawyer and we're hoping by summer we will be utilizing that fuel in our unit number two and producing renewable energy and accumulating the RECs from that as well," he said.
Juntila said the BLP has a contract with renewaFUEL to burn 60,000 tons of biofuel a year.