UPDATE — Thursday, August 18th 2016 6:00 p.m.
With the Presque Isle Power Plant set to close in 2020, there have been many questions about what will happen once the plant shuts down.
Governor Rick Snyder, along with CEO’s from Cliffs Natural Resources and WEC Energy and the Executive Director for the Michigan Agency for Energy Valerie Brader answered those questions at a press conference Thursday afternoon at the Marquette Commons.
WEC Energy will invest $255 million to construct two natural gas power plants.
The utility company’s new 20-year agreement with Cliffs to supply power to the Tilden Mine will help pay for some of the costs to construct the new power plants.
“The way that we want to time this we want the new capacity to go in service in 2019,” said WEC Energy CEO Allen Leverett. “Our goal internally is to have that be mid–year.”
“I believe that we’ve created the basis to continue to provide gross, good jobs, employment and economical development for this area here in Michigan,” said Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Lourenco Goncalves.
“Energy policy in Michigan should be about an adaptable policy that’s affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive with the U.P. being the model case for the need to get this done quickly and efficiently,” said Gov. Snyder.
WEC Energy supplies power to 28,000 U.P. customers. The locations for the two new power plants have yet to be determined.
UPDATE — Thursday, August 18th 2016 5:00 p.m.
The Upper Peninsula’s energy future was unveiled at a press conference late Thursday afternoon in Marquette.
Gov. Rick Snyder, along with officials with Cliffs Natural Resources and WEC Energy announced the creation of two new natural gas power plants.
These power plants will take over production from the Presque Isle Power Plant, which is slated to close in 2020. WEC Energy will invest $255 million into the creation of the power plants.
MARQUETTE — ABC 10 & CW 5 UP’s Jerry Taylor was out talking to the Governor and members of WEC Energies who announced on going discussions to bring two new power plants to the Upper Peninsula. We will have much more tonight on ABC 10 News Now at 5:30 p.m. with Melanie Palmer.
The announcement was made just moments ago. This is a developing story. We’ll have full details for you shortly. Tune in for the evening news at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. as we explore political leader’s solutions to the ongoing energy problems facing the Upper Peninsula.
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.”