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Midland Co generation Venture Facility is located off Poseyville Road in Midland County.

ELECTRIC SWITCH: Midland Cogeneration Facility Spurs Shift From Coal to Gas

Former Nuclear Power Official, Expert, Pete Milojevic is CEO of MCV

January 26, 2014       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The Midland Co-generation Venture (MCV) is proving to be a phoenix that rose from the ruins of the ill-fated Midland Nuclear Plant of Consumers Power Co.

And, MCV appears poised to accelerate a massive shift from coal-fired power to cleaner burning natural gas in Michigan.

Using abundant natural gas in one of the largest combined heat and power plants in the nation, MCV was called "an example to the nation" by the director of the Pew Environment Group's Clean Energy Program who visited the plant last October.

Located at 100 Progress Place, off Poseyville Road, MCV is headed by Pete Milojevic, who took the reins last August, coming from a post as senior vice president with Bruce Power LP, a private sector Canadian company that operates the world's largest commercial nuclear power plant.

Milojevic has 31 years experience in the power generation business, including three years as a team manager with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations in the U.S. In that post he was responsible for evaluating performance of nuclear power plants.

Borealis Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment division of OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), acquired the Midland Co-generation Venture (MCV) from EQT Infrastructure and Fortistar in October 2012.

EQT Infrastructure and Fortistar acquired 70 percent and 30 percent, respectively, in MCV in May 2009.

MCV is one of the largest gas-fired co-generation plants in the United States. The facility's capacity is 1,633 megawatts of electric power and additionally 1.5 million pounds per hour of process steam for industrial use.

Midland Co-generation Venture's electrical capacity represents approximately 10 percent of the power consumption for Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Most of the electric power capacity is contracted to Consumers Energy, the second-largest power and gas utility in Michigan.

MCV officials state it "is a critical energy resource that enhances system reliability within Michigan."

The core power generation equipment, said to be among the most reliable technology in the industry, was manufactured by ABB (now Alstom) and General Electric.

"With significant existing infrastructure and a strong operational track record, MCV is well positioned for adding efficient generation capacity to meet future needs of Michigan and to replace aging coal fired generation facilities," states company officials.

MCV "hopes to capitalize on a plunge in natural gas prices as new drilling technology commonly called "fracking" creates a more abundant supply of the fuel," The Bay City Times reported in 2012.

The decision to expand MCV came in the wake of Consumers Power Company's shelving of a proposed $2.8 billion expansion of the Karn-Weadock electrical generating facility at the mouth of the Saginaw River.

Consumers subsequently announced plans to build a natural gas fired generating plant in Genesee County and to shut two of the coal-fired units at Karn-Weadock.

"Jeff Holyfield, spokesman for Consumers, said utilities are turning to natural gas as low prices and new 100-year supply estimates make it an attractive proposition for power generation," the Times reported.

The Midland Nuclear Plant, proposed in 1969 and built against the advice of a panel of nuclear experts who appeared on Delta College Television Dec. 19, 1969, was a costly experiment for Consumers ratepayers. The $4.1 billion plant, after many construction problems and cost over-runs, was 85 percent complete when stopped in 1984 and converted to gas.

Dow then dropped a lawsuit charging that Consumers had failed to supply them with steam.

"Dow to Help Convert Idle Nuclear Plant," headlined an article by Fred Marc Biddle in the Chicago Tribune Sept. 18, 1986. Dow announced it would become an equity participant in the project and receive steam and electricity from the converted plant.

On June 10, 2008, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved a settlement agreement that it asserted "assures that power from the Midland Co-generation Venture Limited Partnership (MCV) will continue to serve Michigan's needs for the remaining 17 years of the plant's contract life, estimated to save ratepayers over $40 million per year."

"Due to the increase in natural gas prices, the MCV had become uneconomic to operate under its existing contract with Consumers Energy and the company was considering exercising its right to cancel the contract and sell the power on the open market, including to out-of-state purchasers.

"The agreement reduces Consumers Energy's fixed cost payment to the MCV in exchange for changes in operations that ensure that the plant only runs when it is economic to do so. In addition, the agreement ensures that $5 million annually will continue to be provided to support for renewable energy in Michigan."

The agreement was signed by the Midland Co-generation Venture Limited Partnership, Consumers Energy Company, Attorney General Michael A. Cox, the Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, Dow Corning Corporation, the Michigan Environmental Council, the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan, and the Commission Staff. New Covert Generating Company, LLC signed a statement of non-objection. The agreement resolves a case filed by MCV on May 7, 2007.



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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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