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Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Marshall power plant, Line 5, Line 3, Ohio electricity rates

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Marshall power plant, Line 5, Line 3, Ohio electricity rates
September 26, 2019 Ian Wendrow

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

In this edition: Southwest Michigan power plant held up for environmental assessment, Enbridge begins construction of steel supports for Mackinac Strait portion of Line 5 pipeline, Minnesota regulators will consider environmental impact statement for Line 3 pipeline, and an investigative piece looks at exorbitant electricity rates for Ohioans.

A $400 million power plant in Marshall, Michigan has been delayed ahead of an environmental assessment to ensure wastewater discharged by the plant is properly cooled and disposed of. Stantec, an engineering firm specializing in wastewater management, is working with project developers to ensure hot steam ejected by the plant will be properly cooled. Other environmental considerations include the water source for the plant, whether it be the Kalamazoo River or other nearby aquifers.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted a permit on September 24 allowing Enbridge to install 54 steel supports to protect the underwater portion of its controversial Line 5 pipeline. The supports are installed in areas where the pipeline doesn’t rest directly on the lake bed. Since 2002, 147 supports have been installed by Enbridge.

The Upper Peninsula Power Co., which has some of the highest electric rates in the continental U.S., is looking to buy power from a large-scale solar project along the coast of Lake Michigan it says would help reduce costs for its customers. But UPPCO is facing pushback from customers who say it’s limiting their ability to install their own solar projects at homes or businesses, reflecting a statewide trend.

Minnesota regulators next week will consider an environmental impact statement for the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline and consider what additional hearings might be needed to revise the statement. The Minnesota Court of Appeals in June ruled the environmental review of the proposed pipeline project was “inadequate” because it did not consider the effects of an oil spill in Lake Superior’s watershed.

A joint investigative project between Eye on Ohio and Energy News Network looks at why electricity rates in Ohio remain high despite drops in the price of power sources. The article provides a handy timeline breaking down several factors that contribute to this phenomenon, most of which can be tied to extra riders and charges that utility companies have implemented, including the controversial House Bill 6, charging customers of Ohio utilities an additional fee to subsidize two nuclear power plants in Ohio off the coast of Lake Erie.

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