Power plant sale still alive

ESCANABA – “Very, very good” is how the president of the company buying Escanaba’s power plant described the latest developments in Escanaba Green Energy’s loan process.

Things are moving along since Escanaba Green Energy (EGE) switched its lending facilitator from Provartis to Black Diamond Investments, according to EGE President Charles Detiege. He gave an update at Wednesday’s Escanaba City Council meeting with the Electrical Advisory Committee (EAC).

For the past year and a half, EGE has been working with the city to buy the power plant for $1.6 million. Various issues, including unexpected financial delays, have slowed up the process for a loan that will also pay for the conversion of the facility to burn biomass.

Detiege said Wednesday the $36.5 million loan for the project has received “preliminary approval.”

Reading from correspondence EGE received from International Lending Services, Detiege said a funding packet is expected next week. This packet will include the final term sheet and conditions to be completed before a final closing date on the loan can be scheduled.

Based on a potential time schedule from the lending company, Detiege said the loan closing could possibly take place by mid-September. He added this is just a guess because other factors in the process have yet to be completed.

Pending components also include the deposit of the $1 million loan which EGE has secured as a down payment on the $36.5 million loan, said Detiege. Federal credit checks on EGE representatives are being conducted by the lending company while title work and insurance are ready to be finalized once financing is in place, he added.

When asked after the meeting how things are looking financially, Detiege commented, “Very, very good.”

Council continues to discuss the possibility of a Nov. 5 voters’ referendum to grant council authority to consider disposing of the power plant if the facility is not sold. The issue was recently addressed during a special meeting of council and the EAC on Monday.

Escanaba is selling the facility because it is less costly to buy power from a supplier compared to making energy by burning coal. The plant continues to be available to the regional power market.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net