A climate action plan is a detailed and strategic framework and action plan that an organization uses to make informed decisions on ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate the negative outcomes of climate change.
TCLP wants to better prepare for the impacts of climate change by developing a strategy that will help protect the health and well-being of our community and the environment we live in.
This is TCL&P’s very first traditional Climate Action Plan and IRP. Both are important for developed long-term energy and reliability planning that serve as steppingstones toward regional investments in sustainable energy projects and service enhancements.
TCLP is welcoming any feedback that helps us on our journey to creating an inclusive and innovative Climate Action Plan. This includes your opinions on our open house events, surveys, website and more. You can provide feedback at any time at www.tclpcap.org/feedback/ While we value and will consider all feedback, we may not be able to incorporate all ideas in our planning.
A variety of methods are being utilized to gather feedback from all stakeholders including a survey, CAP website, open house events and focus group sessions. Our stakeholder Open House events and presentations to our board will be open to the public; and we will be regularly updating our community via the CAP website and e-newsletter throughout the process. You can sign-up to receive updates at www.tclpcap.org/newsletter/
Climate Change is a global issue with a far-reaching impact. Ultimately, our actions will affect all. However, our solutions developed may directly impact our communities, and that is why it’s important for you to join us in developing the Climate Action Plan.
MISO is a not-for-profit Regional Transmission Organization. MISO ensures reliable and least-cost delivery of electricity to 15 U.S. states and Manitoba, Canada. They manage nearly 200,000 megawatts of power generating resources for members. They also manage 65,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The transmission lines deliver power to utility companies who then deliver that power to their customers. The bulk electric system is the backbone of the electric-delivery system. It is the high voltage transmission lines that move power from generation sources (power plants) to substations. Power is then taken from the substation to the smaller distribution lines serving local neighborhoods and businesses. Energy flowing across the bulk electric system must remain in constant balance to maintain reliability and avoid large-scale blackouts.
A power shortage means a shortage in electricity available for customer use. During summertime, portions of MISO’s system could experience heightened risk for necessary “load shedding.” Load (customer energy usage) shedding is a controlled, temporary reduction of load to prevent wider system failure during high usage times when customer demand exceeds the available capacity of the system. This can necessitate a multitude of different customer actions including; turning on generators, turning off nonessential equipment, and voluntary blackouts. All affected utilities share load shedding responsibilities proportionally so that no areas lose power entirely. As a last resort TCLP and other utilities will resort to nonvoluntary rolling outages. For TCLP customers these would last no longer than an hour per circuit with all portions of the service area sharing the responsibility until the load is reduced to within generation capacity.
MISO has 10 separate interconnected Zones across 15 different states with differing system capacities. Most of the lower peninsula of Michigan is designated as Zone 7, which includes Traverse City. All utilities in Zone 7 including rural cooperative utilities (Co-ops), municipal utilities like TCL&P (munis), and investor-owned utilities (IOUs) could be impacted.
TCLP has 30 distribution circuits. The number of customers on each varies, but on average there are 500-1,000 customers per circuit.
Our power acquisition consultant, Michigan Public Power Association (MPPA) is in constant contact with MISO and will alert us as MISO changes their state of alert. In the event of a shortage of power, MISO will send out notifications of the amount of load (energy demand) that needs to be shed (reduced) to MPPA who will divide it up equally amongst its members, which includes TCL&P. This is referred to as “load shedding”.
Yes, TCLP has had a plan for many years on how to handle these events. This plan includes multiple steps for us to take prior to resorting to blackouts on circuits. It also involves direct customer communication and planning.
MISO aims to provide a two-hour notification that a load shed event may be required. If the power supply unexpectedly drops this notice could be less. While the goal is to notify affected customers ahead of time, there is the possibility this may not occur. TCLP will attempt to contact as many customers as possible, which includes public service announcements, social media, phone calls and in person visits as the situation requires. You can help by ensuring your contact information is updated.
• Turn off unneeded lights • Limit air conditioner usage • Unplug unused electronics • Delay a clothes-washing/drying cycle to late evening or early morning • Delay using an electric range As a bonus this will result in lower power consumption by you and thus a lower electric bill.
• Consider purchasing battery-powered LED lights or solar lanterns • Keep flashlight in reach • Make sure your cell phone is charged • Leave a light on to alert you when power returns • Practice opening garage doors manually if you don’t have a battery backup • Charge your Electric Vehicle at night and ensure its batteries are fully charged.
The 2003 blackout resulted in multiple changes to how utilities operate which has exponentially reduced the chances of a repeat event. In the very unlikely scenario this does happen there are multiple plans in place from a statewide plan to an entire MISO footprint plan to promptly restart the grid.
This is hard to predict, as the weather varies and events such as COVID, which led to a reduction in load, are unpredictable. Clarity will increase as new generating sources, which include renewables such as solar and wind, come online and new transmission lines are built.
Base load is the minimum required power (energy demand) to run the electric grid ignoring the peaks periods of time. This is load (energy demand) that in the past has been met with large scale generating facilities utilizing non-variable fuel sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas. The lowest base load happens in seasons when heating or cooling are not required, and around 3 AM. Base load changes throughout the year as heating or cooling is required. In the past planned outages for these baseload power plants typically occurred seasons with minimal heating and cooling needs to allow for maintenance.
The traditional method of meeting base load requirements has been through non-variable generation sources such as coal, nuclear and natural gas. TCL&P has reduced its investment in these traditional generation sources over the past few decades with an eye towards cleaner and renewable generation sources. By using a combination of wind, which primarily produces at night, and solar, which primarily produces during the day, much of the base load requirement can be met. However, coal and natural gas remains a part of our base load resource portfolio as increase our renewable generation sources with the goal of being powered by 100% clean and renewable energy.
During and near peak load is when a load shedding event is most likely to occur. It is even more likely to happen during the highest peaking times of the entire year. Typically, in Michigan these happen when there have been multiple abnormally hot days (~90° F) days in a row.
Since 2002 TCLP has maintained investment in a 55-megawatt (MW) natural gas generating plant. Although that plant is owned by MPPA, it is operated by TCLP employees. Because it operates for a limited period, it is referred to as a “Peaking Plant”. This plant is capable of quickly starting and stopping to dynamically react to our changing load. This unit will cover the intermediate and peak loads of TCLP.
Yes. The power or energy needs of TCLP customers and how TCLP will meet those needs is an integral part of energy planning. This also an excellent industry opportunity to leverage developing technologies coupled with TCLP passion for clean and renewable energy sources. TCLP is not alone in the belief that power shortages will continue to a concern as traditional generating sources retire and extreme weather events increase. Additionally, as we electrify transportation and heating, which has its own climate health benefits, energy demand will increase. Supporting this energy demand while still focusing on climate and planet health is an excellent opportunity for TCL&P. At TCLP we believe climate and planet health significantly influences these weather events and increases the value of renewable generating sources.
One of the many values of being a municipally owned utility is the voice and visibility of its customers, also referred to as ratepayers or owners. In addition to practicing the tips outlined in this FAQ, participating in TCLP’s Climate Action Plan via stakeholder engagement. TCLP wants its plans to align with the interest and needs of its customers.