Michigan

Greener Grass or Rolling Brown Outs? Why It Could Be Lights Out for Michigan’s Green Energy Future.

COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Long before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Michigan’s green energy initiative into law, she backed the restarting of the shuttered Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwest Michigan. Now, Holtec International has plans to build two additional small reactors to nearly double the capacity of the site.

Holtec International said the plant will be brought back online in late 2025, and will file a construction permit application the following year to build two SMR-300 reactor units at the facility. The company plans to have the smaller reactor units up and running by in 2030 if all goes well with the the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s review.

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According to the company, “The existing Palisades plant refurbished with an array of enhancements is on track to be restarted by the end of 2025 and is designed to provide decades of safe and reliable service. The addition of two Holtec small modular reactors (SMRs) near the existing 800-megawatt (MW) plant will nearly double the Michigan site’s total carbon-free generation capacity.”

In addition, Holtec CEO, Dr. Kris Singh said utilizing the existing plant will save time and money for everyone compared to construction a plant from the ground up. “By building at our own site with our own credit and our own at-risk funds, we hope to deliver the dual-unit SMR-300 plant within schedule and budget – an outcome that has eluded our industry for a long time,” Singh said.

State Rep. Joey Andrews (D-St. Joseph) said reopening Palisades creates jobs and will help Michigan reach clean energy goals in the next 20 years.

“The investment to restart Palisades, which I proudly voted for, is paying even greater dividends. Not only will the initial restart mean the preservation of hundreds of high-paying jobs, constructing and employing two new reactors will put more of our friends and neighbors to work and help us reach our 2040 new clean energy goals. Today is a great day for Southwest Michigan,” Rep. Andrews said.

Holtec bought the plant in June 2022 only two months after the plant had been shut down and defueled. The company is paying for efforts to restart the plant but needs Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve and reauthorize power operations at the plant.

Another company is also putting up its own money to ensure what it calls energy dependability for Michigan. Enbridge Energy, which received approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to continue with its Great Lakes Tunnel Project, is spending $500 million of its own money to build a protective tunnel around Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac. The Enbridge pipeline provides much of the propane used to heat homes and businesses in the U.P.

While the Democrat-led Legislature adjourned for the year last month after enacting green energy policies, many Republicans are pushing to undo the damage they say is already being done.

“Michigan energy providers were already headed in a great direction in terms of clean energy innovation before this policy was signed into law,” said State Rep. Pat Outman (R-Six Lakes). He serves on the House Energy Committee. “Democrats are forcing them to fast track those improvements at a pace they can’t sustain or afford.”

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In the shadow of DTE Energy raising rates, Rep. Mark Tisdel (R-Rochester Hills) took Gov. Whitmer to task. “The ‘100% clean energy’ laws Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed will effectively ban natural gas power plants by requiring expensive, impractical carbon capture technology, instead shifting to more wind and solar, which are less reliable power sources than natural gas,” he said.

On Tuesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Directive 2023-5, which will transition the State of Michigan’s fleet to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). The Governor said in a statement that “getting this done will reduce air pollution, help boost demand for Michigan-made electric vehicles, and lower costs of fuel and maintenance.”

Katie Heid
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Katie anchors weekday newscasts for Michigan News Source from noon until 7 p.m.

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