“The Board of Light & Power is currently in an excellent position due to our forward-thinking board and management back in the mid ‘70s,” said Renee Molyneux, spokeswoman for the municipal utility. “When we began building our Sims Unit III in 1979, one aspect of that project included the installation a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) unit, or wet scrubber, as original equipment to Unit III. The FGD was added to remove SO2 (sulfur dioxide) from the flue gas.”
At that time, the BLP’s scrubber unit was the second one installed in Michigan, she added.
The scrubber utilizes a wet lime slurry mixture to remove the SO2 from the flue gas.
“Because of the original installation of the FGD system, the BLP has been meeting or exceeding environmental standards since our unit went live in 1983, while many other utilities are now having to spend significant dollars to install these units,” Molyneux said.
Regarding the Grand Haven utility’s old Diesel Plant, the BLP has recently installed a catalytic converter on its No. 1 diesel engine, retired engine No. 2, and mothballed No. 5, 6 and 7 in response to current environmental regulations. Molyneux said they occasionally fire up No. 1 for voltage and support of the power grid, and the mothballed engines are limited to 100 hours per year per engine.
No. 1 is already a duel fuel machine that typically runs on natural gas instead of diesel fuel, she said.
“Our board is currently working to develop a long-term strategic plan for the utility, but it is not finalized yet,” Molyneux said. “That plan will address how we will transition into a more diversified fuel mix in the future.”
Do you have a question for the Tribune? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and type MAILBAG in the subject line. Or mail it the old-fashioned way to: Grand Haven Tribune, MAILBAG, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417. We'll do our best to get you an answer! A new Mailbag appears on grandhaventribune.com three times a week: at 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.