The trend we’re seeing toward distributed power generation provides communities an opportunity to chart their own energy future. For an outstanding example of this model, look no further than Holland, Michigan.
Today in Holland, Siemens is proud to participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Holland Energy Park, a new combined cycle natural gas power plant that is slated for commercial operation next year. Siemens is pleased to be the technology partner for this forward-leaning energy project, which serves as a model for how a community can collaboratively work to address its power generation needs.
Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) officials have devoted years of careful planning to this project – with a goal of creating power that is “socially, economically, and environmentally responsible.” When this new power plant is in place, Holland will derive the bulk of its electricity needs from clean, reliable and affordable natural gas – which is expected to reduce carbon emissions by half.
HBPW has also made a commitment to renewable energy, including wind power, as part of its energy mix. This combination of natural gas (a prime building block for reducing greenhouse gases) and wind energy is part of a broader trend, as governments use ‘all of the above’ solutions to lower carbon emissions.
In addition to producing power that is cleaner and more sustainable, Siemens’ proven and reliable technology has the flexibility to help expand Holland’s municipally-owned snowmelt system – the largest of its kind in the United States. Circulating water from the plant will run through a heat exchanger to warm water for the system in the downtown area. While it’s a safe bet that just about everyone in Holland has seen enough snow this year, the city is laying the foundation for harsh winters ahead.
Holland is giving us a glimpse of what power generation will look like in the future. As other communities in the United States make decisions about their power sources, I would certainly encourage them to look to Holland for inspiration – they will find much to emulate.
Barry Nicholls is the US lead for Siemens’ Power and Gas Division. A leading supplier of power generation technology and service, Siemens completed its acquisition of Rolls-Royce Energy in December – completing its portfolio with aero-derivative gas turbines for growth in the field of decentralized power generation.