State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) introduced a resolution today that encourages legislative support for the construction of new electricity generating facilities in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Currently, U.P. residents are paying increasingly large sums to keep the Presque Isle Power Plant (PIPP) a coal-fired plant in Marquette open and operating. With a capacity of more than 400 megawatts, the PIPP is the region’s largest energy supplier north of Green Bay, Wis.

“The cost of keeping the PIPP operating in our region is above and beyond what our residents can afford, and its closure is imminent,” said Dianda. “Without the creation of a new, more efficient power source once the PIPP is shut down, the U.P. will be forced to rely on the construction of transmission lines to import power from Wisconsin. This is an expensive option that will inhibit economic growth, and will likely fail to meet the region’s future demand for capacity.”

Dianda’s resolution recommends investment in natural gas, renewable energy and distributed generation, stating that natural gas, solar, wind and small, localized electric facilities are more reliable, and could be more cost-effective than the alternative option of building transmission lines across state borders.

“The creation of new energy facilities in the U.P. will keep our energy costs in check, and spur economic growth in our region by creating a multitude of jobs,” Dianda said. “I am hopeful that my fellow legislators will see the importance of this resolution, and support the growth of the U.P.’s energy sector. I also hope that Michigan’s energy companies will recognize the opportunity for growth in our region, and begin the process of setting up shop in the U.P.”