Those who live in Newaygo County know how important the Hardy Dam is to the community and now Consumers Power is looking at retiring the dam.

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Hardy Dam

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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I was looking for a place to live when I first returned to Michigan. One evening after looking for houses I stumbled upon the Hardy Dam in Newaygo County, Michigan, and was like wow, this area would be a great place to live. 3.5 years later, it has been a great place to live.

The Hardy Dam is a hydroelectric plant that is owned and operated by Consumers Energy. The Hardy Dam creates the Hardy Pond which is part of the Muskegon River and runs to Croton Pond and Dam which is also owned and operated by Consumers.

The area the Hardy Dam is in is a tourist area, boating, swimming, fishing, bicycling, hiking, camping, rental cabins, rental boats, etc. The economy for those who own businesses in the area depends on the Hardy Dam and Pond. The whole area has been developed based on the dam and pond. To have the dam retired could be devastating to the area.

Possible Retirement for the Hardy Dam

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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Consumers Energy is looking at beginning a retiring process for the Hardy Dam. Consumers recently heard from the community at the Big Prarie Township Hall in the first of several meetings to discuss what to do with Hardy Dam. Many in the community care less about the hydropower going away than they do the water the Hardy Dam holds for the Hardy Pond and all that own homes around it.

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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The Hardy along with other dams in the fleet that Consumers own operate at a loss of over $150 million a year for the company. When a company is losing that much money you know something is bound to happen.

3 Solutions for the Hardy Dam

Tommy Carroll/TSM
Tommy Carroll/TSM
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According to FOX 17, there were three solutions discussed at the meeting at the Big Prarie Township Hall regarding the Hardy Dam.

1. Sell Hardy Dam to Third Party

Many times a third party will come in and purchase and operate a dam. This could be a good solution if the hydroelectric portion of the dam would continue. My only concern is we saw what happened with those third-party dams in Midland and what can go wrong if they are not properly maintained.

2. Build a New Dam

A company could purchase the dam and build a newer one and this would maintain the Hardy Pond. There would have to be a way for the owner to make money and building a new dam would not be cheap.

3. Remove the Hardy Dam Completely

The Hardy Dam could be removed but some sort of impoundment would still need to be in place to hold the water in the Hardy Pond as well as maintain the proper flow of the Muskegon river. Let's not forget the environmental aspect of all this on the wildlife.

There are currently plans for Consumers to reinvest in the facility. Over the past year, Consumers built a headquarters on the south side of the Hardy Dam so they are serious about making some improvements to the spillway and other projects. I guess only time will tell.

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