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FAQ
Questions and Answers
1. What is TCL&P’s role as a municipal electric utility?
2. Why does TCL&P need electric generation?
3. What are the state's requirements regarding renewable energy generation in Michigan?
4. What types of renewable generation does TCL&P currently have?
5. Why would local generation be beneficial?
6. What is baseload power generation?
7. What is combined heat and power?
8. Why doesn't wind work for baseload?


1. What is TCL&P’s role as a municipal electric utility?
1. TCL&P's role as a municipal electric utility is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy services to the City of Traverse City and surrounding townships. Our residential, commercial and industrial customers enjoy reliable power at low rates because we're community-owned. In addition to contributing to the city's financial stability, TCL&P is also committed to investing in a wide variety of community-related projects that range from environmental programs to education.
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2. Why does TCL&P need electric generation?
2. TCL&P needs dependable electric generation to provide for the electricity requirements for its citizens and customers. TCL&P has long term contracts with downstate electric utilities for electricity supply. In 2015 a generation contract which supplies 50% of TCL&P's power requirements is expiring. This is prompting the discussions of where will the future supply come from; fossil fuels like coal or natural gas; or from renewable sources like wind, solar, and landfill gas?
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3. What are the state's requirements regarding renewable energy generation in Michigan?
3. Public Act 295 requires all utilities in Michigan to have at least 10% of their electricity generation come from renewable sources such as wind, solar, landfill gas, and biomass by 2015.
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4. What types of renewable generation does TCL&P currently have?
4. Currently TCL&P receives 9.4% of its generation requirements from wind and 0.7% from landfill gas. TCL&P anticipates having 14% of its generation coming from renewable sources by 2015.
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5. Why would local generation be beneficial?
5. Local generation would increase electric reliability and overall CO2 reductions. Currently TCL&P customers are dependent on downstate generation owned by others. The electricity gets to Traverse City by long transmission lines. A failure (either by natural or manmade causes) would result in the Traverse City area being without electricity for several days. Local generation could also provide Combined Heat and Power (CHP) where fossil fuel energy for certain industrial, large commercial customers and businesses could be reduced, resulting in a net reduction of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere.
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6. What is baseload electric generation?
6. Baseload electric generation is generation that is consistently and constantly available every hour of the day throughout the year. It is not dependent on the wind blowing or the sun shining. Baseload generation can only come from coal, natural gas, nuclear, large hydro, landfill gas or biomass generation sources.
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7. What is combined heat and power?
7. Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is an advanced generation technology where the excess heat that results from electricity generation is used to heat water or make steam rather than be wasted and discharged into the atmosphere. The hot water or steam is then used to heat and cool buildings rather than burn natural gas for those purposes. The CHP process results in a very high plant efficiency rating (60-70%) that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions for the overall energy provided.
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8. Why doesn't wind work for baseload?
8. Wind generation is intermittent. That means that it does not generate on a continuous basis and cannot be counted on to be there when it is needed, i.e., during the peak load times during daylight hours and during the summer. Wind generation takes place only when the wind blows. This often occurs in the middle of the night when additional generation is not needed.
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