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Positive move for community

December 1, 2012
The Daily News

The long-awaited announcement came Tuesday: We Energies and Wolverine Power Cooperative have reached an agreement for co-ownership of the Presque Isle Power Plant.

The deal, made public by a group of officials that included Gov. Rick Snyder, secures the future of the Marquette power plant, which is a major employer and taxpayer in the region.

Under the agreement, downstate-based Wolverine will invest $130 million to $140 million to upgrade the facility to meet upcoming federal environmental pollution regulations.

For that investment, Wolverine will acquire up to an estimated 40 percent ownership in the plant, which We Energies will continue to oversee. This agreement not only bodes well for the approximately 170 employees of We Energies at the plant, but for scores of contract employees who will be working on the upgrades. These are all good paying jobs, as well, which boosts the economy of the Marquette area through purchases made by the workers for everything from automobiles and groceries to homes and recreational properties.

In addition, Marquette city officials are certainly elated that the $1.5 million in tax revenues from the power plant are much more secure for many years to come.

State officials also touted the deal, pointing to the continued operation of the Presque Isle facility to help improve Michigan's electric generation and transmission system.

Snyder highlighted the importance of the deal at Tuesday's press conference announcing it as well as on Wednesday when he released his energy and environmental policy blueprint for Michigan. In it he emphasized the continued reliance on coal-fired power plants, such as the Presque Isle facility.

In addition, Wolverine officials said the deal allows the power generation and transmission cooperative to invest in Michigan, citing recent projects occurring in Ohio and Indiana.

We Energies officials also pointed out that with the investment by Wolverine, the cost of the upgrades will be borne by Wolverine customers and not We Energies customers in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.

When looking at all the benefits of this major power deal, not the least of which involves meeting stiff federal environmental regulations for coal plants, it's difficult to find anybody who isn't a winner.

The Mining Journal




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