MTU testing feasibility of hydro-pump in Negaunee’s mines

NEGAUNEE — It was recently announced that Michigan Technological University and the city of Negaunee are working together to conduct a feasibility test on if the city’s abandoned mines can be reutilized to help store green energy.

MTU has received a 50,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation to study a concept that could bring an underground, hydro-pump to Negaunee. Using a dual-reservoir system, all out of the public’s sight, the equipment would utilize what has since been abandoned. It would act as a storage site for energy, but also could generate backup energy when it’s needed.

“There’d be a reservoir above and below, all underground and contained,” said Negaunee Planning and Zoning Administrator, David Nelson. “When the power demand is at peak, the water from the top reservoir will go down into the bottom reservoir,  generating electricity. When it’s off peak power, they’ll have pumps that actually pump the water back up, and it just keeps going in that cycle.”

Students at Michigan Tech will be playing a part in conducting the study, researching what options would work best for the concept overall.