TC will use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, says utility

Aug 15, 2018

The TCL&P board discusses a renewable energy plan at its meeting Aug. 14.
Credit Max Johnston

Traverse City will rely entirely on renewable energy by the year 2040, according to Traverse City Light & Power. TCL&P’s board of directors approved the energy plan at their meeting Tuesday night.

Executive Director Tim Arends says all the city’s non-renewable energy contracts will expire by 2040.

“We’re feeling pretty assured that by then, based on comments from Consumers Energy and DTE that the coal plants we’ve invested in will be shuttered,” Arends said. “The thought is to replace those contracts with renewable energy.”

The city of Traverse City passed a similar plan in 2016, but that only applied to city-owned buildings and operations. The new plan applies to over 12,000 TCL&P customers.

That plan also sets goals of 15 percent renewable energy by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.

Chairperson Pat McGuire was the only board member to not vote in favor of the plan. McGuire said the energy goals are costly and unachievable.

“One-hundred percent is currently not achievable and it would be incredibly expensive,” McGuire said. “The only plan you could have for 100 percent is to sit on your butt and wait for renewable energy to become affordable.”

Kate Madigan with the Michigan Climate Network was one of several members of the public that spoke in support of the plan during the public comment section. She says the plan is realistic.

“There are cities in Michigan that have already achieved 100 percent renewable energy goals and a lot of cities that are setting these goals are saving money by moving to renewable energy faster,” Madigan said.

The TCL&P board will hear about two solar energy contracts at its next meeting in September.