Tribe announces power plant plans

Michigan State Roundup

Published January 1, 2002  | January 2002 issue

The Hannahville Indian Community plans to build a 1,100-acre industrial park on tribal lands southwest of Escanaba, which could have a major economic impact on the region.

Phase one of the privately funded venture would consist of four coal-fired electrical power plants, each costing $50 million and capable of producing 250 megawatts of power, and an adjacent ethanol fuel plant.

The power complex would be the largest in the Upper Peninsula and carries a total price tag of about $1.3 billion. Located in a strategic power grid, Hannahville expects to sell the high-demand electricity to metropolitan markets and at the same time provide an ingredient for other economic development. Additionally, the proposed power plant has the potential to provide up to 1,000 direct employment jobs and 500 indirect jobs, along with construction opportunities.

The project's neighboring ethanol plant could produce up to 40 million gallons of alternative fuel annually, as well as distillers' grain, and provide a new market for local corn farmers.

A $500,000 feasibility study on the entire project is expected to conclude in January 2002, after which project developers will seek approvals from the community as well as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Depending on those approvals, engineers hope the first plant will open in five years.

Rosie Cataldo