WE Energies, the owner of the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, is entering a joint venture that should keep the plant operational for many years to come.
Allen Leverett, executive vice president of WE Energies, says the arrangement was about a year in the making.
Wolverine Power Cooperative of Cadillac will build new air quality control systems at the plant in order to meet federal pollution control standards.
The upgrades will cost $130 million to $140 million.
In exchange, WE Energies will give Wolverine a one-third ownership stake in the plant.
Wolverine president and CEO Eric Baker had compliments for Governor Rick Snyder and his staff, saying they played a crucial role in reaching it.
Snyder says this should be a win-win situation for the two companies, their employees and for the city of Marquette’s tax base.
The investment secures the future of 170 jobs at the plant, but the jobs that are saved don’t end there.
Cliffs Natural Resources is the plant’s biggest customer; all of the electricity for the Empire and Tilden Mines comes from there.
The investment helps secure the future of jobs at the mines as well.
Marquette Mayor Johnny DePetro says the spillover effects of jobs and tax revenue if the plant were to close were long-standing concerns for the Marquette City Commission, and he’s thrilled the plant will still be around.
WE Energies will continue to operate the plant as usual.
If necessary permits are approved, construction would begin in early 2014 and the upgrades would be complete in the spring of 2016.