Michigan Agency for Energy calls for community effort to plan for future without Palisades

Contact: Nick Assendelft (Michigan Agency for Energy), 517-284-8300

September 22, 2017 - The Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE), today said it will work with local officials in Southwest Michigan to prepare for the impact of the pending closure of the Palisades nuclear power plant, whether it comes next year or five years from now.

“We will have to learn from the companies what their decision will be regarding when Palisades will close, but whether it is in one year or five years from now, there is an urgent need for community leaders to develop a plan for the future without the Palisades plant operating,” said Valerie Brader, executive director of MAE. “Priority must be given to figuring out long-range strategies to best mitigate the effect on schools, budgets, jobs, businesses and communities. The state is fully committed to partnering with the community to help in any way.”

The Michigan Public Service Commission today approved securitization funding that will allow Consumers Energy to negotiate with Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner, on an early termination of a contract to buy power produced by the plant. Entergy has said that if Consumers buys out the remainder of its contract with the New Orleans-based utility the power generation plant could close as early as October 2018. The power purchase agreement that makes the plant profitable is due to expire in 2022. 

Brader said MAE, the Department of Treasury, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the Talent Investment Agency want to support local community efforts and partner with local leaders, legislators, and the philanthropic community to mitigate the effect the pending plant closure will have on Covert Public Schools, Covert Township, Van Buren County and Southwest Michigan.

Consumers and Entergy have said they are willing to provide $10 million to help lessen the impact of early closure should the decision be to shut down the plant next year. If the plant continues to run through 2022, these funds are not expected to be available, but the plant will continue to supply a large base of tax revenues during that time. 

Entergy also has indicated that should Palisades close, there will be opportunities for plant workers to help with the shutdown work or relocate to jobs at other company facilities. TIA and other agencies are also eager to help the many talented employees remain in Michigan, if they choose.

For more information about MAE, please visit www.michigan.gov/energy or sign up for its listservs to keep up on MAE matters.