New power plant in Baraga will also produce revenue

Baraga County taxing bodies will benefit if the Michigan Public Service Commission approves a

Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp. (UMERC) proposal to build two plants in the Upper Peninsula, including one in Baraga County.

UMERC claims the plant will generate $1 million in taxes annually to Baraga County. Other than that, however, there is little if any benefit for the rest of the Copper Country.

Zero permanent jobs will be created. Electrical power rates, which are some of the highest in the country, will not go down, and some experts wonder if they won’t eventually go even higher. For the record, UMERC insists they won’t change. That’s hardly news to cheer about.

The company does claim the overall system will deliver more reliable power. If that’s the big payoff, then big woop.

Some experts are suggesting new ways of power, such as renewable energy like wind and solar power and geothermal power — tapping the heat deep down under the earth’s crust. That of course would be the best way to go, but until those sources start to pay off better than fossil fuels, power companies are going to stick with what has paid off historically. The day is coming, however, when those alternatives will be better but not today.

So the grand payoff from the $275 million project seems to be: more reliable power delivery for all of us, and $1 million more a year for Baraga County taxing bodies.

Any tax relief is better than none, so for the benefit of Baraga County residents, we endorse the plan.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial

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