LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Lansing Board of Water and Light officials say they are officially stepping out of the coal business.

On Tuesday, they made a huge move to do so by opening the new Delta Energy Park in Delta Township.

It will replace BWL’s coal-fired Eckert power station, which is set to retire later this year.

“It’s been running in the past, but it’s been more in a test mode, but now it is 100% reliable sending out energy to the Board of Water and Light customers,” said Dick Peffley, BWL general manager.

The $500 million plant is BWL’s second natural gas-fired plant, and officials say it can respond faster than coal, with coal taking eight hours to start up, and the combined cycle taking only ten minutes.

BWL says the plant would typically burn two million tons of coal in Lansing but by the end of this year, they won’t burn a single pound.

“By retiring Erikson Station and bringing Delta Energy Park online, we will reduce our carbon emissions by 80%.,” said Peffley.

The combine will power the GM Battery plant that is currently under construction.

“Just a few months ago we stood and said we are going to have a new battery plant here in Delta Township in the Lansing area, and that doesn’t happen without this plant that we are standing here today, a plant without coal using natural gas, the next step,” said Lansing Mayor Andy Schor.

City officials say this is the next step toward a future with renewable energy.

BWL says they will begin the retirement process for the old plant when its resources have been completely used up.

“Basically, we are waiting for the coal pile out there to run out. When the fuel is gone, the plant will be retired and we will start decommissioning,” Peffley said.