transmission bills out
Peninsula Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) has introduced a bill to
build transmission capacity to connect the upper and lower
SB 282 would
establish a board to oversee electric infrastructure in the state,
composed of members of the Public Service Commission, Department of
Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources, Michigan
Economic Development Corp., and one resident from each peninsula.
It would be charged with ensuring electric reliability
through construction of transmission aimed at reducing
congestion and keeping electricity prices in check.
An inter-peninsula transmission line is being considered as an
alternative to a transmission build out of Wisconsin. It would
require construction of a sizeable power plant in the northern
Lower to push that power north.
The Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO) conducted its
annual capacity auction in April, with no change in pricing for
Zone 7 – Michigan’s Lower Peninsula – at $16.75 a MW day.
It shows Zone 7 has 16% more export capacity (4571 MW) than import
capacity (3884 MW).
The auction, for Michigan, is relatively unchanged over last year.
Model gives state gas, renewable economic guidelines
A model designed to help
decision makers plan for future capacity has been crafted by a
Lansing consulting firm and the University of Michigan.
5 Lakes Energy and U of M researchers have developed the
State-based Carbon Rule Analysis for Power Systems (SCRAPS) model
that considers risks to ratepayers under different energy resources
and energy efficiency schemes using the Clean Power Plan as its
It shows, for example, that at a unit price $3.82, natural gas
generation would be more affordable than new renewable energy
systems. The scale tips the other way at $6.73.
Read more at Midwest
Energy News, or see the whole
report at 5 Lakes
Bats listed as
The forestry industry took a collective sigh of relief recently
when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the northern
long-eared bat as a threatened species, not endangered, because
it’s being devastated by a fungal infestation called white-nosed
Commercial timber interests worked hard for the threatened status,
along with so-called 4(d) rules that in combination will minimize
the negative implications on logging and forest management.
Colonizing bats hibernate in caves, or in Michigan’s case,
abandoned mines, making them susceptible to WNS, which causes
irritation that disrupts hibernation, leading to stress and death.
There is no known treatment.
MSU nixes coal
Michigan State University has announced it will replace coal with
natural gas at its T.B. Simon Power Plant in 2016.
The conversion of three units to natural gas is part of the
university’s 2012 Energy Transition Plan. A fourth unit can burn
biomass, but media reports have not indicated how this unit fits
into the fuel switching. Plant operators have struggled to make
biomass work economically.
MSU has led Michigan in sustainable energy research and application
through its Woody Biomass Experiment Station in Escanaba, and
research into ag-based bioenergy, including torrefied biomass to
co-fire with coal in the fourth unit. Last year they started
growing fast-growing poplar to feed that boiler.
UP power deal
The loosely-crafted deal to keep power on and costs down in the
Upper Peninsula has taken another turn.
We Energies announced in March it would not sell the all-important
Presque Isle Power (PIP) plant to the UP Power Co. (UPPCO).
Instead, it’s keeping the plant and supplying the Cleveland Cliffs
Mines with power. According to content in Gov. Rick Snyder’s special
message on energy released the same day, UPPCO and the Mines
couldn’t reach an agreement, and We Energies agreed to accept the
Mines as a customer without additional system resource recovery
Read more at the Milwaukee
Journal and in the governor’s
Paper mill to
FutureMark Manistique last week announced the closure of its UP
paper mill, idling 147 workers.
The announcement leaves Verso as the last remaining paper
manufacturer in the state. It has mills in Quinnesec and Escanaba.
The closure should have minimal impact on current fiber supply as
its products were made of 100% post-consumer material. However,
it’s another step in the contraction of the Michigan paper
DNR OKs mining
Dept. of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh has approved one
of the state’s largest land sale/swaps with a Minnesota limestone
The state originally rejected the plan because it didn’t satisfy
the state’s benchmarks for multiple use of state lands. The
approved plan for the mine near Trout Lake in Mackinac County
preserves surface rights and conditions for recreational and timber
The deal involves royalties paid to the state, the exchange and
sale of land parcels, and transfer to the state of certain mineral
on federal lands.
Watch this newsletter for details on National Bioenergy Day (NBD),
this year during the week of October 19.
Michigan Biomass, the Biomass Power Association and the U.S. Forest
Service saw double the participation last year over the inaugural
year in 2013. In 2014 there were 50 NBD events in the US and
Canada, including one at Viking Energy in McBain, which was a
collaboration with energy and other forest industry trades and
associations, the USFS and the Dept. of Natural Resources.
NBD this year will coincide with national Forest Products Week.
You can keep abreast of developments at bioenergyday.org
The US Dept. of Agriculture has finalized rules for the Biomass
Crop Assistance Program. Changes include reducing matching payments
from $45 to a $20 maximum, and limits on cost sharing for
establishing biomass crops.
BCAP provides up to $25 million annually in subsidies for the
delivery of biomass fuels to energy conversion facilities, which
includes power, heat and advance biofuels such as pellets and
liquid fuels. No less than 10% and not more than half of these
funds are available for matching payments, typically used for the
collection, harvest, storage and transportation of biofuels (CHST).
Special projects receiving establishment payments for purpose-grown
energy feedstocks are also eligible for matching CHST payments.
Eligible woody material must be collected and harvested directly
from the land as a by-product of preventive treatments for
hazardous fuel reductions that contain disease or infestations.
Woody material resulting from preventative treatments solely for
the purpose of restoring ecosystem health is no longer eligible for
matching payments. Fiber used by higher-value markets, including
mulch, is not eligible.
Read more at the Federal
EIA map shows
Want to know how many turbines are in that wind farm you drive past
every day? How about who owns that hydroelectric dam? The Energy
Information Administration (EIA) now has an interactive map that
shows the nation’s entire energy-related infrastructure.
Whether it’s an oil pipeline or coal generating facility, the EIA
map provides data on production or storage capacity, ownership,
fuel sources and precise location. It’s complete with layers and
features that can be turned on and off to produce the results
you’re looking for.
Visit the EIA map