Upper Michigan Energy Resources, which has offices in Menominee and Iron Mountain and is a subsidiary of WEC Energy Group, began commercial operation of the A.J. Mihm Generating Station and the F.D. Kuester Generating Station on March 31 in the Upper Peninsula. The stations replace energy from the company’s coal-fueled Presque Isle Power Plant, which was retired the same day.
“The new generating stations are good for our customers, good for business, and good for electric reliability throughout the U.P.,” says Kevin Fletcher, president and CEO of WEC Energy Group. “Closure of the Presque Isle Power Plant also helps achieve our goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent well ahead of our 2030 target.”
WEC funded the $275-million investment. Half of it will be recovered through a 20-year agreement with Cliffs Natural Resources. The other half will be recovered in retail electric rates.
Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder issued a call to action in 2015 to solve the Upper Peninsula’s energy crisis.
The generating stations are expected to save customers nearly $600 million over the next 30 years. They will eliminate the need for additional transmission capacity and upgrades that would have been needed at the Presque Isle Power Plant.
Plans for the retired power plant will continue to develop.
Upper Michigan Energy Resources serves nearly 36,500 electric and 5,300 natural gas customers in the U.P.