A lot goes on behind the switch
you flip to turn on your lights.


Step 1:


Coal arrives at the James De Young Power Plant by ship from the Chicago area. A conveyor belt brings the raw coal into the plant, where it is fed into bunkers and stored until it’s ready to be used.

Step 2:


From these bunkers, the coal travels through feeders and into pulverizers. These pulverizers crush the coal into a fine dust that can be more easily combusted. This coal dust is then preheated to ensure that it burns as efficiently as possible.

Step 3:


When the coal has reached the proper temperature, it is fed into large burners, which combust the coal. The heat given off heats water stored in the boilers. When heated, these boilers release steam, which travels at high pressure and temperature into the turbines.

Step 4:


The steam turns the turbine generators, which create electricity. The electricity is sent to transformers, which connect to the power lines that deliver the electricity that you use every day.

Step 5:


Some of the steam created in the process is reused as heat. After that, all of it is condensed back to water, which we use in a variety of other processes, such as cooling equipment. Then it all cycles back through the system to be reused, greatly reducing the number of resources the plant must consume.

Step 6:

The Grid

These units alone do not provide all of the power Holland needs to keep running. The Holland Board of Public Works also owns an interest in the Campbell 3 Unit, a Consumers Energy facility and the Belle River station, a Detroit Edison facility. To further supplement the power we’re able to produce ourselves, the Holland Board of Public Works purchases electricity from the “electrical grid”—a market for electricity that functions similarly to the New York Stock Exchange—when it makes sense to do so. When the cost of purchasing power from the grid is lower than the cost of producing it ourselves, we buy power to keep rates down. And when power on the grid is expensive, the HBPW has a number of ways to increase our output to offset those costs.

Step 7:

Alternative Generation

In addition to the coal-powered units that we operate at the James De Young Power Plant, we have natural gas- and oil-fueled units as well. These units cost more to run, so we use them less often than our coal units. This flexibility allows the Holland Board of Public Works to provide power that’s reliable and competitively priced.

Downtown Lighting

By replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with LEDs in the downtown area, we're saving 37,200 watts every hour they're lit.

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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

We're investing in our future with seventeen electrical vehicle charging stations throughout the city.

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EarthCare is a program created this year that rolls a number of initiatives into one, the main goal of which is to promote a sustainable future for our community.

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For our residential customers, Smart Grid means the ability to monitor and control energy usage digitally. For the community, it means more reliable power.

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We're testing the viability of a wind farm farm that could mean more than 200 Mw of sustainable wind energy for West Michigan.

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We're developing integrated plans for reducing the economic and environmental impact of energy use.

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The communities of the future will rely on ultra-fast communication to stay connected.

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This year we received recognition from the American Public Power Association (APPA) as a Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3).

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