Natural gas-fueled power plant eyed

MARQUETTE – An Illinois company is working on a land deal with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to build a new natural gas-fired power plant in southern Marquette County.

DNR Director Keith Creagh decided recently to sell an option to purchase 120 acres just west of Arnold in the Gwinn Management Unit to GlidePath Power, LLC of Elmhurst, Ill., for $10,000, with a sale price for the land of $171,600 if the option is completed.

Creagh made his decision at a meeting of the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing.

Steve Sutton, DNR real estate section manager in Lansing, said the location of the proposed Glidepath plant would be near a natural gas line, an electricity transmission line and an access road.

Sutton said GlidePath purchased the option in an effort to demonstrate it has viable site control to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc., which oversees the electrical grid in the Upper Midwest and part of Canada.

The project is among those proposed for development to provide more electricity generation or transmission for the U.P., which would create additional power reliability for the region. That issue has been especially important in recent months given the uncertain future of the coal-fired Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette.

“MISO’s chief goal is ensuring reliability across our footprint. As part of our work to ensure reliability, we have been and will continue working with stakeholders, including regulators, in the U.P. region to address solutions to the longer term question of reliable supply to load in the region,” MISO spokesman Andy Schonert said.

Dave Nyberg, U.P. representative for Gov. Rick Snyder, said the governor and his administration have been working for many years with parties interested in generation projects that have shown an interest in the U.P.

“Recently filed interconnection requests (including GlidePath) with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator are encouraging,” Nyberg said. “This is positive progress for the U.P. in terms of minimizing long-term costs to ratepayers and creating an energy structure in the region that is more adaptable, reliable, affordable and protective of the environment.”

After an expedited review by DNR field staff of the property – which is situated in Wells Township – the state’s Land Exchange Review Committee approved the GlidePath transaction earlier this month with a few conditions.

Those conditions include proceeds of the sale be used to replace the loss of winter deer complex habitat; existing snowmobile Trail No. 33 and, if necessary, Ford River Road be relocated at GlidePath’s expense; and that a timber harvest be completed before the land sale.

Proceeds from the sale would be put into the Land Exchange Facilitation Fund. The DNR can sell rights in land and deposit the sale proceeds into the fund, which can then be used to acquire replacement property.

DNR division chiefs recommended the option be sold to GlidePath and the land be sold with execution of the option, subject to the conditions the committee outlined.

John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. His email address is jpepin@miningjournal.net.