From:                                   Michigan Biomass <information=michiganbiomass.com@mail53.suw11.mcdlv.net> on behalf of Michigan Biomass <information@michiganbiomass.com>

Sent:                                    Tuesday, August 16, 2016 9:04 AM

To:                                        Gary

Subject:                                The Power of Wood Summer 2016

 

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Power of Wood goes monthly

The Power of Wood, the newsletter of Michigan Biomass, is going monthly.

Watch your inbox each month for this digital newsletter, which brings you the latest information on biomass power generation and wood resources

In addition, you can follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Bioenergy Day
October 19

All things bioenergy will be celebrated nationwide on Wed., Oct. 19.

The fourth annual "national day" will feature events around the country including biomass facility tours and discussion panels.

Watch this space for Michigan details.



U.P. paper mill reopens

The FutureMark paper mill in Manistique reopens this week, restoring 90 Upper Peninsula jobs.
 
The facility was bought by a local family-owned company, Zellar Excavating, and is now UP Paper, LLC. It will make craft paper from recycled paper feedstock.
 
The mill first closed in November 2011 as Manistique Paper after filing for bankruptcy and idling 150 workers. It had produce newsprint and later specialty papers. It emerged from restructuring as FutureMark, but it closed again in May 2015. Zellar bought last fall.

MAT helps student field trips

The Michigan Association of Timbermen has partnered with the Michigan Tree Farm Committee to get school kids into the woods.

Transportation funding is a frequent roadblock to getting public school students into the field to learn about forestry. The Wheels to Woods Fund will reimburse such transportation costs up to $1000 per school or group per year, and connect schools with nearby private landowners willing to host these field trips..

Nuke shutdown
no problem

A steam tube rupture at the Donald C. Cook nuclear power plant in Bridgeman in July forced Indiana Michigan Power to shut down one of two units at the 2110-megawatt reactor, but it didn't disrupt power to customers or pose any safety or environmental threat.
 
The rupture released non-radioactive steam and damaged a wall. No injuries were reported.
 
Indiana Michigan Power said all equipment "responded appropriately" to the rupture, and there were no further complications. The other unit stayed fully functioning.
 
Read more at WSJM.


DTE seeks approvals for gas pipeline

An affiliate of DTE Energy has filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission to recover supply costs associated with the construction of a gas pipeline from western Pennsylvania – a project that Michigan's Attorney General thinks puts unnecessary costs on the company’s ratepayers.

DTE says the pipeline will lock in long-term costs, even though the current market would be a much less expensive supply source.
 
The proposed pipeline would move 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. DTE is a 50% owner in the proposed line, whose other partners include Enbridge and Spectra Energy.
 
According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, DTE's forecasts show the pipeline losing money until about 2023 with the price of gas lower when it arrives in Michigan than when it left Pennsylvania. DTE says that would be offset by a dramatic uptick in value from 2029 to 2037, making it profitable.


Panel seated on U.S. energy bill conference

The U.S. Senate has at long last voted to conference with the House on energy legislation – but that's not likely to happen until after the November election -- if it happens at all as House Republican leadership says there is no agreement to avoid controversial amendments to the bill.
 
Senate Democrats held out for concessions on a host of conservative provisions, such as a measures to relieve the California drought and one to bypass environmental regulations for energy projects on Native American land.
 
The White House has threatened to veto the bill as passed by the House. A pared down bill that will get the President’s signature is expected.

 

The Power of Wood is published quarterly by Michigan Biomass, a coalition that advocates for, and is supported by, the state's wood-fired power plants. Send questions, comments and inquiries to information@michiganbiomass.com


Arauco starts site prep

Chilean composite board maker Arauco has started site preparations for North America’s largest continuous board manufacturing line in Grayling.
 
Up North Live reports that tree removal has begun at the location on 4 Mile Road near Grayling Generating Station.
 
The report says hiring for the 250 full-time workers is expected to begin in 2018.

Short-term capacity outlook improves; long-term the same
MPSC, MAE seek study

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) says the Lower Peninsula reliability picture for 2017 has improved from last year's forecast shortfall, but long-term reliability is still a concern. It, along with the Michigan Agency on Energy (MAE), wants the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) to conduct a system reliability study.

The Commission conclusion comes after review of a staff report, which revises last year's forecast shortfall for 2017 from 520 megawatts (MW) to 270.

The shortfall takes into account projected peak electricity demand and the ability of brick-and-mortar generation to supply it, plus a required reserve margin.

Any shortfall can be made up with generating capacity in other states, but the Commission remains concerned about what would happen if there is an unanticipated power plant closure in in the LP, or if capacity from coal and nuclear power plants in Illinois suddenly become unavailable.

The MPSC and MAE sent a joint letter to MISO asking for a reliability study to include a scenario of unplanned outages at two in-state nuclear power plants.

MISO files plan
for 3-year auction

MISO made it official last week: It’s moving to a three-year, forward-looking capacity auction.

MISO officially filed the plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in July.
Supporters of a more open and competitive market for retail electric sales said the move away from a 1-year auction outlook will result in a market for generation capacity that will promote more stable, more long-term pricing that will lead to greater system reliability.

The FERC filing comes days after an independent, third-party monitor concluded that the MISO market for energy appropriately follows natural gas pricing, but that its 1-year capacity auction framework failed to deliver pricing that would ensure adequate generation resources in unregulated states.

U.P. power update
New utility being formed
A new utility could be taking responsibility for supplying electricity and natural gas to the Upper Peninsula.

Wisconsin Electric Power Co., the parent company of WE Energies, and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation have petitioned the MPSC to allow the transfer of certain electric distribution systems and gas pipelines to a new, Michigan-based utility called the Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corporation. (UMERC).

The MPSC considered the concept in March and opened dockets in June.

The move is significant in that it loosens direct ties to the Wisconsin utilities that currently serve the U.P.; a fact that has recently been seen by Michigan regulators as a speed bump in addressing the region's energy issues.

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission must also approve the petition.

The action is the latest in a deal that includes the continued operation of the Presque Isle power plant in Marquette through 2020, and construction of a natural gas power plan by Exelon, an alternative energy supplier currently serving mining interests that use 85% of U.P. electricity.

Arm wrestling continues over system costs
Meanwhile, U.P. electric customers on Aug. 1 started paying an estimated $50 million in supplemental costs to keep several “must run” power plants operating to ensure the lights stay on, drawing formal protests from state regulators, utilities and those stuck with paying the bills.

The payments will span 14 months and were levied after FERC forced MISO to revise its cost allocations, which shifts the bulk of the responsibility to U.P. ratepayers.

Under the plan the area’s largest utilities –  Cloverland Electric Co-op, U.P. Power Co. and Exelon, which sells power to the regions mining interests – will pay nearly $41 million of those costs.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the cities of Escanaba and Mackinac Island have joined the Michigan Attorney General, the MPSC, and MAE in filing a formal complaint, saying the cost allocation plan submitted by MISO was not fair.

Munies getting more hydro
An association of Michigan municipal electric utilities expects to get 25% of its power from hydroelectric dams once the final facilities in Ohio are complete.
 
Hydro power for the Michigan South Central Power Agency comes from Upper Peninsula hydroelectric dams owned or contracted, and eventually from four dams on the Ohio River. The $685 million, 105-megawatt Meldahl Hydroelectric Plant came on line in October, while three new facilities on will come on line this fall.

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