Michigan PSC axes show cause proceeding for Presque Isle coal plant

The Michigan Public Service Commission in a Feb. 23 order abandoned its mandate that Wisconsin Electric Power show cause why it might retire in the near term its coal-fired Presque Isle Power Plant in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula.

At a special commission meeting held on Feb. 10, the commission issued an order requiring Wisconsin Electric Power to show cause why it should not be prohibited from suspending operations at or retiring its Presque Isle Power Plant (PIPP) located in Marquette, Michigan. In so doing, the Commission set a schedule for an expedited contested case proceeding that was to begin with a prehearing conference on Feb. 25.

But on Feb. 17, Wisconsin Electric and its two largest customers, Tilden Mining Co. LC and Empire Iron Mining Partnership signed an agreement that has apparently rendered moot the need for any further proceedings in this docket. The agreement, which was made public on Feb. 18, reportedly requires these iron ore mining companies to remain as full service customers of Wisconsin Electric until the sale of Wisconsin Electric’s Michigan assets to Upper Peninsula Power Co. In return, Wisconsin Electric reportedly has agreed to rescind its plans to retire the PIPP, in the near term (retirement in 2020 is still likely), and has agreed to forego collection of System Support Resource (SSR) retirement payments for PIPP effective Feb. 1.

Said the commission’s Feb. 23 order: “The February 25, 2015 prehearing conference is cancelled, and all further proceedings in this docket are vacated as it now appears that the reason for conducting an expedited show cause proceeding into whether Wisconsin Electric Power Company should be ordered to continue operating the Presque Isle Power Plant is moot at this time.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.