Upper Michigan Energy Resources to get public feedback on long-term plan

The plan includes energy and price projections for five, 10 and 15 years.
Solar panels
Solar panels(Jerry Tudor WLUC TV6)
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:40 PM EST
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UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Every day thousands of Upper Michigan residents turn on their lights because of Upper Michigan Energy Resources.

UMERC provides electricity to 42,000 customers in the central and western U.P.

Now, its new 20-year plan is looking to expand its solar energy. If approved, it wants to generate 100 megawatts of solar capacity.

“100 megawatts is about the equivalent of powering 30 thousand homes,” said Brendan Conway, Upper Michigan Energy Resources Spokesperson.

Under Michigan law, every investor-owned utility company has to submit a 20-year plan to the Michigan Public Service Commission. MPSC approves on many factors including price, reliability and clean energy.

“These plans are really about a balancing act between all those different needs and priorities,” said Tremaine Phillips, Michigan Public Service Commissioner. “Really the top-line item for us is ensuring that whatever path the utility decides to take is cost-effective.”

The plan still has to be approved by MPSC. If it is, UMERC hopes to look for a location and have the project finished in the next few years. The energy rate would slightly increase in the first year.

“We would expect that building and purchasing the solar projects could add a slight increase,” said Conway. “The fuel for solar projects is the sun so it’s free. Over the long term this really provides a lot of price stability.”

The plan includes energy and price projections for five, 10 and 15 years.

“These plans take into account forecasted fuel prices, energy demand, load growth, environmental regulations, the availability of emerging technologies and energy efficiency,” said Phillips. “These plans incorporate all those modeling and projecting.”

From those models, UMERC has developed plans to meet energy needs. On Tuesday, you have the chance to give feedback on the plan. The commission is holding a public hearing in Fornetti Hall on Bay College’s West Campus in Iron Mountain from four to seven in the afternoon central time.

You can view the full proposed plan by clicking here. If you can’t attend the meeting call MPSC at 517-284-8090 to give feedback.

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