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UP Power Plant To Get $130M Upgrade

MARQUETTE (AP) - Emissions upgrades to an Upper Peninsula power plant are expected to save 170 jobs and create new construction jobs while meeting more stringent air-quality requirements.

The deal, announced Tuesday in Marquette, would add state-of-the-art emissions equipment to the five coal-fueled units at Presque Isle Power Plant.

Wisconsin's We Energies will continue to run the plant and its air quality control system. Cadillac-based Wolverine Power will invest about $140 million to retrofit the units, which were built between 1974 and 1979.

The companies will have joint ownership of the plant, located along Lake Superior in Marquette.

We Energies said last year that the plant could be shut in 2017 or refitted to be fueled by natural gas as the company looked to comply with anticipated pollution regulations.

"Presque Isle is important to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we have developed a life extension option that is the most economic and timely solution," said Allen L. Leverett, We Energies executive vice president.

The joint venture and air quality control equipment still must get approval from public service commissions in Michigan and Wisconsin, Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

"The partnership ... to keep the Presque Isle Power Plant open is good news for the current and future availability of a reliable electric supply for businesses and residents in the Upper Peninsula," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said during Tuesday's announcement.

On Wednesday, Snyder is scheduled to deliver a special message about energy and the environment to the state Legislature. Energy needs in the Upper Peninsula are part of the message.

Wolverine currently supplies power to five electric cooperatives and two alternative electric suppliers in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

We Energies serves more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan, and more than one million natural gas customers in Wisconsin.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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