From the Holland Sentinel
Holland — The city of Holland and its Board of Public Works will move forward with the 114-megawatt combined cycle natural gas power plant.
The city council voted 8-1 Wednesday to approve a resolution of support for the BPW staff recommendation to build the plant but not at the site of the James DeYoung power plant located near downtown Holland on Lake Macatawa.
Councilman Wayne Klomparens was the lone dissenting vote.
“Once you make this decision, you can’t go backward,” Klomparens said, adding he thinks his family took more time to choose a paint color for the kitchen wall. “There’s a myriad of questions.”
Klomparens said he would like to know where the plant would be built before the decision is made. BPW officials have said the resolution of support is needed for the city and the BPW to move forward with location possibilities.
The other council members countered Klomparens’ statements, saying the discussions and studies have been ongoing for a few years.
The Holland Community Energy Plan has been completed, task forces have been established, the research has been done, Councilman Dave Hoekstra said.
“We’re moving toward a better community,” he said, adding that about one year ago, he made the decision there was no way he would vote for coal.
Those who are asking for delays on this decision have to understand “that delay comes at a cost,” Mayor Pro Tem Bob Vande Vusse said, adding the earliest the new plant could go on line is 2016. Until then, the city will continue to use coal and delaying the vote would have meant more time burning coal.
“We have had hours and hours and hours of meetings,” Councilman Myron Trethewey said.
Councilman Todd Whiteman called the recommendation “a very reasonable solution” and “a wise decision.”
BPW Business Services Manager Dan Nally said electric generation discussions started in 2003. Since then, several studies have been conducted and meetings held.
“It’s been a very deliberate, systematic approach that has been ongoing for nine years,” he said.
“It’s almost two years we’ve been talking about this one subject,” Councilman Brian Burch said. “While I enjoy talking about it, it’s time to make decisions.”
“We do the best we can with the information we have,” Councilwoman Nancy De Boer said. “We are not making a forever decision. We’re building this now.”
The people who built the DeYoung plant in the 1940s had no idea what other forms of energy would be proposed in the future.