Home > About the BWL > News > BWL Cogeneration Plant is “Going Commercial” on July 1

BWL Cogeneration Plant is “Going Commercial” on July 1

Contact: Stephen Serkaian | 517-702-6735 | sxs@lbwl.com

6/18/2013 9:35:00 AM

New plant to be first new utility power plant built in Michigan in 25 years and first power plant built by the BWL in 40 years. Natural gas-fired plant to be among cleanest in Michigan and U.S.

June 28th, 2013 Update

  • U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) has joined the roster of speakers previously announced for the train depot event starting at 9 a.m.;
  • Free public parking is available two blocks south of the event site. Please consider tagging your preview stories today, this weekend and Monday with the parking advisory and attached map. Also please consider posting the public parking advisory and attached map on your website.
  • Media parking for the event is available by entering the cogeneration plant at the entrance located on South St. at Platt St.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL) will hold a “Going Commercial” grand opening and dedication event at its REO Town Headquarters and Cogeneration project on Monday, July 1. “Going Commercial” is a utility industry term that means a power plant is fully operational and providing energy to customers.

“We’re delighted to invite the public to join us in the “Going Commercial” grand opening and dedication celebration of our REO Town Headquarters and Cogeneration project,” said J. Peter Lark, BWL General Manager. “BWL employee ambassadors will be available to assist visitors taking self-guided tours of the entire facility, which we’re very proud to show off.”

Located at 1203 S. Washington Ave. in Lansing, the $182 million project – which is on time and on budget, includes a new cogeneration power plant and headquarters office building, and restored Grand Trunk Western Railroad depot, which will be used as a meeting place for the BWL Board of Commissioners.

When the cogeneration plant begins operation on July 1, it will generate up to 300,000 pounds of steam for 225 steam customers in downtown Lansing and 100 megawatts of clean and highly reliable electricity. It will be the first new utility power plant built in Michigan in 25 years and the first power plant built by the BWL in 40 years.

Schedule of Events
Monday, July 1
9-10 am
Going Commercial Grand Opening – Depot & Cogeneration Plant
Invited guests and the public with gather at 9 am in the depot to hear expected remarks from BWL General Manager J. Peter Lark, BWL Board of Commissioner and Chair Sandy Zerkle, and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

At approximately 9:30 am, guests in the depot will walk a short distance next door to the cogeneration power plant.

At approximately 9:45 am. Lark, Zerkle and Bernero will start the power plant, which will be fully operational and providing steam and electricity to BWL customers.

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: There will be media platforms in the depot and power plant, and time for crews and reporters to move from the depot after the speeches to the power plant before the plant is started.

10-11:30 am
Open House Self-Guided Tours – Headquarters, Cogeneration Plant & Depot
~Public tours of the facility with assistance from BWL employee ambassadors

11:30 am-1:30 pm
Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Club Luncheon – Tent On-site
This is a ticketed event that will highlight the BWL REO Town project for Lansing Chamber members and guests. For more information see http://www.lansingchamber.org/event/bwl-going-commercial-event.

1:30-3 pm
Open House Self-Guided Tours – Headquarters, Cogeneration Plant & Depot
~Public tours of the facility with assistance from BWL employee ambassadors

This project represents a number of firsts for the BWL, the City of Lansing and the State of Michigan. After years of research, community input and planning, the completion of the cogeneration plant is the first new utility power plant built in Michigan in 25 years and the first power plant built by the BWL in 40 years. Also, the plant is BWL’s first natural gas-fired electric generating plant, and it’s the BWL’s first cogeneration plant. The combination makes the REO Town plant among the most cleanest and efficient that will be operating in Michigan and the U.S.

This state-of-the-art cogeneration plant scores a major victory for the environment in mid-Michigan. It is a cleaner, greener and energy-efficient facility, allowing the BWL to:

  • Slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent compared to the coal-fired steam and electric units that the new plant will replace.
  • Eliminate the need to burn 351,000 tons of coal compared to the steam and electric units that the new plant will replace.
  • Lower mercury and SO2 (sulfur dioxide) emissions by over 99 percent, and NOx (oxides of nitrogen) by over 85 percent compared to the coal-fired boilers that are now retired.

The facility is expected to receive LEED certification. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is recognized worldwide as a commitment to sustainable, energy efficient and healthier building and neighborhoods.

A combined-cycle cogeneration facility uses natural gas to generate steam and electricity in a two-step process. First, a gas turbine burns natural gas to directly turn an electric generator. It then captures the hot exhaust to produce steam, which can be delivered to steam heating customers or used to turn a second electric generator. Since two products are produced from one fuel source, this is the most efficient thermal process in which to generate energy.

Since the decision was made to build the power plant, natural gas prices have fallen dramatically further reducing fuel costs to fuel the plant.

The facility was built by Lansing’s The Christman Company, Granger Construction Company, Clark Construction Company and Kramer Management Group, Inc. among other Lansing construction firms, and by 1,000 building trades men and women.

As the cogeneration plant becomes fully operational on July 1, the headquarters building and restored depot will be completed as planned in just a few more weeks – and around Labor Day approximately 180 BWL employees will work in the complex.

The 5.3 acre REO Town site was the best location among others considered for the new power plant and headquarters because it was closest to BWL’s steam and electric distribution systems. The property contained an asphalt parking lot and the train depot at the time of purchase. The historical importance of the train depot to the REO Town neighborhood led the BWL to restore the depot, which is on the U.S. and Michigan Register of Historic Sites, to its original state as a part of the project.

The BWL also believed developing the site would enhance economic development in REO Town, the city and the region. That combined with the City of Lansing’s $2.84 million Streetscape improvement project along Washington Ave., which has renewed this transportation corridor, is why the REO Town project has been called "transformational" for the area.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light – Michigan’s largest municipally-owned utility founded in 1885, delivers safe and reliable water, electric, steam and chilled water service to more than 100,000 residential and business customers.

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