UMERC files paperwork to build two natural gas power plants

UPPER PENINSULA — Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. (UMERC) filed a certificate of necessity application today with the Michigan Public Service Commission to build two natural gas generating stations in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan.

“This filing is another significant step forward in our commitment to a long-term viable solution for electric reliability in the U. P.,” said J. Patrick Keyes, president of UMERC. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and community stakeholders as the process moves forward to achieve a cost-effective energy future for the citizens of the U.P.”

If approved, UMERC will construct, own and operate a generating station in Baraga County and another in Marquette County, totaling approximately 183 megawatts. The proposed facilities would use electric generators called reciprocating internal combustion engines. These modular engines run on natural gas and allow for reliable and flexible operations.

This technology also provides additional benefits:

-Efficiency is maintained over a wide range of generation output.

-Environmental impact is minimal – including limited water use.

-Engines are delivered and installed in modules sized for needed capacity.

Construction of the generating stations is expected to begin in late 2017 or early 2018, with an anticipated operation date in 2019. Pending approval from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), this would allow for the retirement of the coal-fueled Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette, Michigan, no later than 2020.

UMERC will fund the estimated $277 million total project investment.