Power plant close to loan

ESCANABA – The company planning to buy the Escanaba power plant is expected to close on its loan next week. The Escanaba City Council was informed of the development Wednesday at its joint meeting with the Electrical Advisory Committee.

Escanaba Green Energy (EGE) is in the process of buying the coal-fueled power plant to convert it to burn biomass. The company is seeking a $36.5 million loan to pay for the property and the conversion.

EGE’s lender will be meeting with an escrow service early next week to sign and close the funding for the company, said EGE President Charles Detiege at Wednesday’s meeting.

After EGE receives the loan, the city will receive a proof of funds at which time a closing date on the plant sale can be scheduled, Detiege said.

Escanaba is selling the facility and 17 acres because it costs less for the city to buy energy from a supplier compared to producing power by burning coal. The city has been buying energy from NextEra of Florida since Jan. 1, 2012.

In other business Wednesday, council approved entering into another agreement with the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO), a regional interconnection agency which regulates power sales.

MISO reimburses the city $3.7 million a year to keep the local facility operational and available to the power market.

In December 2011, Escanaba sought MISO’s approval to shut down the plant. MISO denied the request and is paying the city to continue operations on stand-by mode because the facility provides reliability and additional transmission for the regional market.

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