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2 former Michigan mine sites to be repurposed as solar power operations

2 former Michigan mine sites to be repurposed as solar power operations


LANSING, MI – Two former Michigan mine sites will be repurposed as large-scale solar power operations.

Circle Power of Royal Oak has been awarded a 5-year land lease agreement with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to develop large-scale solar arrays at the sites, which will be developed through its affiliate, Copper Country Power I, LLC.

“Enabling opportunities for cost-effective, renewable energy is good for the environment, for Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces, and for the people of Michigan,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

“Our department is entrusted with taking the best possible care of the state’s natural resources and creating quality outdoor experiences. It is just as important that we do our part to foster the development of renewable energy sources that will provide new sources of power for northern Michigan, increase local tax bases and repurpose old mining sites for greater public benefit.”

The two sites to be developed for solar power include the Groveland Mine in Dickinson County, a former 347-acre iron mine tailings site gifted to the state and 7 Mile Pit in Crawford County, a 169-acre property previously use for sand and gravel mining the state acquired through tax reversion.

If successful, the energy produced at these sites would supplement, or help to replace, current nonrenewable forms of energy like oil, gas and other fossil fuels, according to the DNR.

A timeline for the development of the arrays has not been established since both of the mine sites have been left in a degraded condition.

Criteria for establishing these sites included open lands with minimal forest cover, no conflicts with rare, threatened, and endangered species or sensitive ecosystems, and consistent with local zoning plans and ordinances.

Copper Country Power I, LLC was chosen for the development over Utopian Power, LLC of South Lyon and Telamon Enterprise Ventures, LLC of Carmel, Indiana.

“An installed project could provide $50,000-$100,000 per year in lease payments to the DNR in addition to generating state and local revenue through property taxes,” Jordan Roberts, managing partner at Circle Power, said.

Michigan Energy Options, an East Lansing non-profit, is assisting the DNR with the technical aspects of understanding solar energy.

“The potential development of two former mining sites for large-scale solar power, in my opinion, checks all the boxes,” said John A. Kinch, executive director of Michigan Energy Options.

“The siting doesn’t negatively affect the natural lands and waters the DNR manages and, further, it is a great reuse of industrial legacy properties. It doesn’t affect private landholdings. What the project does do is to drive the creation of more clean, renewable energy in Michigan, with the DNR leading by example. My nonprofit is excited to be working on these and future projects with the DNR.”

Source : mlive
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network