Rural Utilities Won't Buy Into Marquette Coal Plant

Dec 19, 2013

A coal plant in Michigan's Upper Peninsula will not power homes and businesses below the Mackinac Bridge. Wolverine Power Cooperative announced today it is dropping a plan to invest in the Presque Isle Power Plant.

Credit WE Energies

Wolverine Power supplies electricity to rural areas in lower Michigan through utilities like Cherryland Electric and Great Lakes Energy. Wolverine was planning to become a joint owner of the Presque Isle plant in Marquette. The coal plant is almost 40-years old and needs expensive upgrades.

This fall, however, the power plant’s biggest customer, the owner of two iron mines, switched to another utility. Now the Wisconsin utility that owns the plant, WE Energies, wants to close it.

The organization that transmits electricity in the upper Midwest says that could create electricity shortages in the Upper Peninsula and has refused to allow it to power down.

If Presque Isle does close, new power lines might be needed to bring electricity into the region.

Wolverine Power also announced this week it has abandoned plans to build a new coal plant in Roger’s City.

The company's spokeswoman said no one was available for an interview requested by IPR.

The Sierra Club applauded both decisions and encouraged Wolverine to invest in renewable energy.