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WEC Energy unit plans 2 gas-fired plants for Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Upper Michigan Energy Resources Corp., or UMERC, on Jan. 30 applied for a certificate of necessity with Michigan regulators for the construction of two new natural gas-fired facilities with a total capacity of about 183 MW in the Upper Peninsula region of Michigan.

Under the proposal, with an estimated budget of $277.2 million, the WEC Energy Group Inc. subsidiary is planning to build two facilities in Baraga and Marquette counties, Mich. The projects would pave the way for the retirement of the Presque Isle coal-fired facility in Marquette County by 2020, according to a company news release.

Upon approval of the Michigan Public Service Commission, the power plants will begin construction in late 2017 or early 2018 and are expected to be ready for commissioning in 2019. The retirement of the Presque Isle project also requires approval from the Midcontinent ISO. (Michigan PSC Case No. U-18224)

UMERC is WEC Energy's newly formed utility that provides electricity and natural gas to the former service territories of Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and Wisconsin Public Service Corp.