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Power 101

Where Do We Get Power?

We Are Committed to Diversified Power Generation

Holland Board of Public Works offers a diverse energy portfolio, distributing energy from natural gas, coal, wind, biomass, and landfill gas. In fact, with our Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) over 15% of our power comes from sustainable energy sources. This diversity helps us to keep our rates consistent and competitive, sourcing our power from the most affordable option at any given time.

Natural Gas

What is combined-cycle natural gas?

In a Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) system, two turbines work in tandem to generate electricity. The first—in this case, a natural gas turbine—generates electricity, and exhaust heat from that combustion is used to turn a second turbine, which is typically a steam turbine. This reuse of excess heat provides much more efficient generation than is provided by a natural gas turbine alone. Holland Energy Park utilizes a CCGT system and Holland BPW purchases additional capacity from AMP’s Fremont Energy Center which also utilizes a CCGT system.

Why natural gas?

  • Natural gas is reliable, abundant and produced in the U.S.

  • Natural gas is one of the most cost-effective fuel sources available today.

  • Natural gas is significantly more efficient, which makes it much more environmentally friendly than coal. It produces an average of 50% less CO2, lower levels of NOx, fewer particulate emissions, and virtually no SO2 and mercury emissions.


We still get power from coal?

Yes, while our own James De Young power plant burned its last coal in April, 2016, Holland BPW has contracts to purchase power from two coal plants in Michigan. DTE’s Belle River plant in St. Claire and the Consumers Energy J.H. Campbell plant in West Olive contribute 45MW to our power portfolio. Consumer's has announced the closure of J.H. Campbell in 2025 and DTE plans to convert Belle River to natural gas in 2026-2027.

Why coal?

  • Coal is affordable, reliable and has a vast existing infrastructure in our state.

  • Unlike renewables, coal provides an important supply of continuous base load power – even when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind isn’t blowing.

Wind Turbines

How does Holland use wind energy?

Holland BPW buys power through two power purchase agreements (PPAs) with two wind energy parks in the midwest.

  • 16.8 MW from an array in Ithaca, MI

  • 3.5 MW from an array in Huron County, MI

Photograph of a wind turbine from the top of the structure--showing the blades and sweeping farmland ahead.

How does wind energy work?

Most wind-based power generation involves an array of wind turbines built in an area with consistent, year-round wind. Wind drives the turbine’s propeller-like blades, which in turn drive the electric generator inside. Power is then transferred down the shaft to a transformer at the base, where power is transmitted into the grid.

Why wind energy?

Wind energy has a small ecological footprint and produces no carbon emissions, making it a sustainable energy source over the long term. Unfortunately, wind power only contributes to the grid during the right weather conditions when turbines are in motion, making it serve best as a supplement to base load energy production.

Landfill Gas Power

We use landfill gas to power Holland?

Since early 2010, Holland BPW has held PPAs with landfill gas power plants from EDL and North American Natural Resources (NANR). Together they produce over 50,000 mWh of energy

What is landfill gas power?

Waste from landfills breakdowns producing gases, including methane. Without safe ways of venting or repurposing this gas, methane can build up, potentially causing dangerous explosions.

A great way to resolve this problem is to use the gas to produce electricity. Landfill gas power plants drill into landfills, releasing gases and safely burning methane to drive turbines.

Solar Arrays

How does Holland use solar energy?

Holland BPW buys power through power purchase agreements (PPAs) with solar arrays in Michigan. By 2025, about 30 MW of our power capacity will come from solar.

  • 6.7 MW from two arrays in Shiawassee County, MI

  • 5.5 MW from an array with Invenergy Solar expected to begin operations by June 2023

How does solar energy work?

Solar energy is best captured in wide open spaces with consistent sunlight. The sun's energy is absorbed photovoltaic cells to create electrical charges that move according to an electrical field in the cell, generating electricity (Dept of Energy).

Why solar energy?

Much like wind energy, solar has a much smaller environmental impact and no carbon emissions in the process of generating electricity. Solar's main shortcoming lies in its ability to only generate when the sun is shining, making it harder to call upon when needed without storage capabilities.