Future of Presque Isle Power Plant location still unclear

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Presque Isle Power Plant was retired March 31 after 64 years of operation in Marquette.

The Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation (UMERC) closed the Presque Isle Power Plant for a a number of reasons. One, a continued effort to lower their carbon footprint; the other, operating and building costs.

"Which on a cost per megawatt basis is a lot lower than it would be to build a fully functional coal power plant," said UMERC Director, Richard Rayborn.

Employees began emptying the property when it was retired on March 31. They still have more than a year to go before demolition begins.

"There's some coal still on site. We're selling that coal to Cleveland Cliffs," Rayborn said. "About a third of that will be gone this year and the other two thirds will be gone by the end of 2020."

They hope to begin demolition in 2021.

"The process for shutting down all the way through demolition is a multi-year project," Rayborn added.

With the closure of the plant, the city will be losing a million and a half dollars of annual tax revenue. City Manager Mike Angeli has a two-part plan to make up for this loss by building up city funds, and finding new revenue.

"We're trying to develop new sources of revenue through the sale of city property, the development of city property and the increase in that tax base, "Angeli said.

The city has no plans to purchase the property from UMERC, but would help future developers find a use.

"We as a city are willing to work with whoever, whatever, or however it progresses for the best possible outcome," Angeli said.

UMERC still has no officials plans in place after demolition.

"We're still trying to make those decisions. We're open to any and all opportunities," Rayborn said. "We certainly want to keep the city of Marquette abreast of our plans and work with them."

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