Agreement Paves Way to Restart Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in West Michigan

Florida-based Holtec International, a diversified energy technology company, and Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac, a not-for-profit power generation cooperative, announced today that they have entered into a long-term agreement that will pave the way for the restart of the 800-megawatt Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township, west of Kalamazoo on the coast of Lake Michigan.
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Nuclear power plant
Holtec International and Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac have entered into a long-term agreement that will pave the way for the restart of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township. // Photo courtesy of Holtec

Florida-based Holtec International, a diversified energy technology company, and Wolverine Power Cooperative in Cadillac, a not-for-profit power generation cooperative, announced today that they have entered into a long-term agreement that will pave the way for the restart of the 800-megawatt Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township, west of Kalamazoo on the coast of Lake Michigan.

The foundation of this partnership is a long-term power purchase agreement, with Wolverine committing to purchase up to two-thirds of the carbon-free power generated by the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant for its Michigan-based member rural electric cooperatives. Wolverine’s nonprofit rural electric cooperative project partner, Hoosier Energy, will purchase the balance.

“We are thrilled to enter into this partnership,” says Kelly Trice, president of Holtec Nuclear Generation and Decommissioning. “The executed power purchase agreement represents a significant milestone in our journey toward reopening the plant, a historic moment for Michigan and the country.

“The repowering of Palisades ensures Michigan has sufficient energy to meet future demand and mitigate the impact of climate change, while creating hundreds of high-paying Michigan jobs, expanding the local tax base, and unleashing economic opportunity within the region and beyond.”

Wolverine’s member rural electric cooperatives provide electricity to rural homes, businesses, and public schools across more than half of Michigan’s lower peninsula, with a power supply portfolio that is already 60 percent carbon-free. This agreement will further enhance Wolverine and its members’ leadership in carbon-free energy and their commitment to delivering reliable, affordable, and clean power to their communities well into the future.

“Ensuring reliable and affordable electricity in Michigan is crucial,” says Eric Baker, CEO of Wolverine. “The restart of Palisades offers a practical, long-term solution to electric reliability in our state and aligns with Michigan’s ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions.”

Following Holtec’s acquisition of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in June 2022, after the May 2022 shutdown, the plant now is on track to become the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in the United States, thanks to the support it has received from its community, state, and federal partners.

Palisades officials say the plant has a proven history of safe and reliable operations, operating in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) highest safety category, completing consecutive record-breaking production runs prior to early shutdown, and being recognized within the industry as a high performing plant.

In early 2023, Holtec submitted an application with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office for federal loan funding to repower Palisades. The company is working cooperatively with the department to move the loan application process forward. Holtec also has participated in several constructive public meetings with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff to discuss the proposed regulatory path to reauthorize operations at Palisades within the agency’s existing regulatory framework.

The repowering of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant is expected to greatly enhance electric reliability by generating consistent and carbon-free energy in Michigan. It also will decrease Michigan’s reliance on energy imports.

During operation, 600 Michigan residents were employed full-time at Palisades in highly skilled jobs with an average salary of $117,000. The plant brought an additional 1,000 specialty workers into the local community every 18 months to support scheduled refueling and maintenance.