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Invenergy opened a 1,000-acre solar farm in Calhoun County last year. Pictured above is Invenergy’s Southern Oak Solar Energy Center in Georgia. Source: Invenergy.

In a move towards securing future energy needs, the Chelsea City Council, in their meeting on December 18, 2023, approved three power purchase commitments as part of their long-term energy strategy. This decision aligns with the city’s aim to address the growing demand for electricity and the shift towards renewable energy sources.

Chelsea City Manager Colburn recommended that the council approve three separate power purchase commitments to meet the city’s electricity needs in the coming years. The city, through the Michigan Public Power Agency (MPPA), has been proactive in securing power from diverse sources, including solar energy, as part of its strategic energy plan.

The commitments include a $328,071 purchase from Invenergy’s Calhoun County Solar Project from 2025 to 2032 and two additional purchases through MPPA, totaling $2,292,144, effective from 2028 to 2040.

Colburn, addressing the council, emphasized the city’s need for a flexible approach to power purchase, given the variability in demand influenced by factors such as weather. He highlighted the city’s collaboration with MPPA and the necessity of transitioning from coal-fired plants to greener energy sources. ” So, we need to continue to purchase and enter different agreements. One of these agreements is a solar agreement. We’re also trying to meet our green energy goals as well. These three agreements allow us to administratively start working on the agreements to move forward…And this will push us up through 2029,” Colburn stated.

In response to a council member’s query about the timing and regularity of such purchases, Colburn explained that the opportunity to buy power arises per need and market availability. He underscored the current challenges in the power market, influenced by legislative changes at federal and state levels, mandating a shift towards green energy.

The council packet included an MPPA report detailing the rationale behind the power purchases. Key points included the need to demonstrate capacity, potential shortfalls forecasted, changes in resource accreditation requirements, recent energy legislation, scarcity concerns in the power market, and escalating costs due to inflation and the retirement of coal resources.

Concluding the discussion, the council unanimously approved the power purchase commitments.

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