September 28, 2011 | DoubleTree Hotel | Holland, MI
Report Posted September 30, 2011–Holland Board of Public Works is facing a decision regarding its need for new electricity generation. It is asking for the community’s input on which single source of generation, or group of generation options, are best for Holland. As part of the P21 – Power for the 21st Century (www.p21decision.com) program, Holland BPW invited community groups and stakeholders to participate in a Risk Analysis Process, or RAP session, yesterday.
Baseload generation options that use innovative technologies like fluidized-bed combustion and combined cycle gas turbines as well as biomass, solar, and wind turbines were described by a power engineer with HDR, an engineering architecture and consulting firm. The options’ impacts on the Holland community were talked about during the RAP session.
An economist with HDR kicked the session off by outlining the Sustainable Return on Investment (SROI) methodology that will be used as an input to the decision on new generation. SROI is a risk-based cost benefit analysis process that opens up and makes transparent the models and data used for decision making. SROI aims to reveal the value of the projects under consideration by combining, for example, capital costs with environmental emissions cost into a sustainable rate of return.
SROI was developed by HDR and is HDR’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative. HDR explained how it has been used in other infrastructure decisions across the country. SROI is being used by municipalities such as Denver (wastewater), Miami (solid waste); Honolulu (H-Power waste to energy) and also currently being used in nearby Chicago to study the benefits and costs of separating the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River system to stop the spread of invasive species such as Asian Carp.
The SROI process allows stakeholders to make changes to the initial structure and logic of the model that will be built for the analysis. Panelists were invited to add, change, or remove costs and benefit categories. This was the focus of yesterday’s RAP session with sixteen panelists providing technical and local expertise to help HDR and Holland BPW frame the generation decision. Representatives were present from City Council, the BPW Board of Directors, the Sustainability Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, Haworth, Herman Miller, Riverview Development, West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Holland Historic District, the Sierra Club, Hope College, Holland Public Schools, and Holland BPW.
Approximately ten observers were also present at the RAP session that ran for most of the day. Panelists and observers had a chance over lunch and breaks to discuss the decision making process. A wide range of costs and benefits were discussed over the day. Potential costs such as emissions and the benefits of possible district heating options, the cost of dredging Lake Macatawa, and extensions to the snowmelt system were some of the many items reviewed.
A second RAP session is scheduled for November 3, 2011, at which HDR will work with the panel to put values to these costs and benefits. Risk ranges will be used to address the fact that these values are either not known with certainty or may be subject to differences of opinion.
Other P21 community information sessions have been scheduled on: Conservation; Fuels; Regulatory Matters; Generation technologies and options; Transmission; and District Heating.
HDR will report back to Holland BPW in the New Year at which time the SROI results will be presented to the community, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, January 12, 2012.
The session workbook from this RAP session is available here.