Gov. Snyder speaks at U.P. Energy Summit

Published: Feb. 16, 2017 at 10:34 PM EST
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Close to 300 industry professionals came to Northern Michigan University Thursday for the 2017 U.P. Energy Summit.

"Industry experts and stakeholders from throughout came to hear more about the status of energy and the development of solutions to meet the needs for many years to come," said Brett French, external affairs manager for the American Transmission Company.

American Transmission Company is the host of the U.P. Energy Summit.

The summit has been bringing energy experts together for almost two decades now.

For the first time, Gov. Rick Snyder spoke at the event.

He said progress is being made regarding energy in the U.P., but there's still work to be done.

For one, Snyder said the U.P. needs to improve it's connectivity.

"We've had a study going that hopefully will get done sometime this year about doing a connection to the lower peninsula, but we actually expanded it to say could we also connect to Ontario because they have great power resources," Snyder said.

Snyder is referring to the study being conducted by Midcontinent Independent System Operation (MISO) looking to see the benefits of a transmission connection between the U.P. and Ontario and a stronger connection between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

At the summit, Snyder asked industries to start working together.

He'd like to see an integrated asset management system put in place that'd to combine information on infrastructure and coordinate planning among cities, utilities and state government.

"We see it quite often in our lives where the road in front of where you work or live may get torn up multiple times," Snyder said. "It may get torn up by the road people doing road work and then it may get torn up by the water and sewer people and then by the gas and electric people and then by the communications people. That's kind of silly to tear up that road four times when you might be able to tear it up once. Think how much money that would save if we could get all that work done at one time. When they tear up the road once, let's do all the work and be done. That requires careful coordination and I'm looking for pilot places around the state that would like to start that process to show how we can save everyone money."

Snyder said he'd like to see the U.P. be a pilot place for this idea.