UPDATE — Tuesday, August 16th 2016 7:15 a.m. (EDT)
Officials from Cliffs Natural Resources and WEC Energy Group released a statement clarifying that the funding for the $255 million investment in the proposed natural gas-fired solution will come entirely from WEC through its affiliates. Cliffs and its affiliates are not investing any capital toward the project.
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Officials at Cliffs Natural Resources say a new energy agreement will help provide the Tilden Mine in Marquette County with a long-term, reliable, and affordable source of electric power.
Cliffs entered into a new twenty-year agreement with WEC Energy Group that would provide 170 megawatts of natural-gas powered generation across two new Upper Peninsula sites and, according to a release from Governor Rick Snyder’s office, allow for the retirement of the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette by 2020.
This comes after a settlement reached with the state early last year to resolve issues arising from the closure of the Presque Isle plant and other challenges to the U.P.’s electrical supply. State officials say that as agreed to in the settlement, Michigan ratepayers will continue to be protected from additional System Support Resource (SSR) costs arising from the operation of the PIPP until its retirement.
The agreement is subject to review by the Michigan Public Service Commission. Pending regulatory approvals, commercial operation of the new facilities is expected to begin in 2019.
In a release from his company, Cliffs’ Chairman, President and CEO Lourenco Goncalves stated, “Our Tilden Mine produces among the highest quality pellets in North America. With a stable, long-term source of power in place, Tilden will also continue to be the most operationally efficient producer of pellets for the domestic steel industry.”
Governor Snyder called the deal “extremely promising, especially given the ability to easily adapt to changing demands.”