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BLP transmission upgrade enters final phase

Alexander Sinn • Jan 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM

The third and final phase of the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power’s three-year transmission line upgrade is underway. 

At a total cost of more than $5.7 million, the project is expected to be completed this spring.

Power poles are installed along the current route under maintenance, which stretches from the BLP substation at U.S. 31 and Van Wagoner Road and heads north along the railroad tracks to Hickory Street and across U.S. 31.

The next section of this phase will continue along U.S. 31 and Hickory Street and end at Rycenga Park.

BLP Communications Director Renee Molyneux said the upgraded system is designed to last 30-50 years, ensuring the municipal utility can import and export power along the system to the regional transmission grid, and between its own substations.

“This will allow the BLP to provide our customers with improved reliability and increased access to lower wholesale power costs while Sims is offline,” she said.

The upgrades mean the BLP will be able to provide power from the grid in the absence of the Sims coal-fired plant on Harbor Island, which is slated to close in June 2020.

The BLP is in the process of transitioning to purchasing a majority of power off the grid, while providing local capacity with a new gas-fired plant on Harbor Island.

Transmission upgrades began in the fall of 2017, with new poles and lines along Ferry Street between Robbins Road and Jackson Street in Grand Haven, then north and west across U.S. 31 to the Sims plant.

The second phase, completed this past spring, included lines from the Sims plant to the BLP’s north substation on Van Wagoner Road, where the project resumed this fall.

The BLP hired contractor CC Power for the project. 

 

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