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E-M:/ Conners Creek Power Plant

Enviro-Mich message from Julie Metty <mucc@mucc.org>

This memo is intended to give some information, from an environmental
prospective, regarding Detroit Edison's (DE) proposal to reopen their
mothballed Detroit Conners Creek power plant. 

On March 31, DE filed a motion for limited waiver of the requirements of
competitive solicitation for generation capacity.  On April 14th, the
MPSC found that the public interest demanded that the waiver be granted
Commission determined that DE needs at least 417 MW of additional
capacity to meet its summer need, and the restart of Coners Creek is one
means of meeting that need. 

The motion for waiver is approved if DE currently has all necessary
permits to restart and operate the Conners Creek plant.  By April 24, DE
shall file a plan for meeting the capacity need of 417MW, including:
 Environmental and other permits required
 Schedule for restart (DE states in their testimony that is will take
two years to restart Conners Creek)
 Process to be followed
 Associated costs
 Length of operator training to ensure plant is operated safely

As far as the environmental permits go, the plant was built in 1951 and
therefore is part of the exempt fleet of power plants that do not have
to comply with new source performance standards under the Clean Air
Act.  I spoke with Lynn Fiedler, DEQ Air Quality Division, who said
because of this grandfathering neither DEQ nor Wayne County have any
information on the plants performance, emissions, or controls and,
therefore, she could not answer any of my questions on what type of
regulations they will apply.  Basically, DEQ needs more information from
the plant before they know what action to take, what regulations apply,
and what permits DE will have to get.  DEQ has tried to contact DE with
no success, which is surprising since DE needs to include environmental
permitting information in their April 24 plan to the Cmmission.   
>From an environmental perspective, we should oppose this waiver because
this situation is a result of improper planning by DE which has caused
the Commission to make a quick decision that will result in excessive
costs for consumers and the environment.  Besides, the answer to meeting
DE's need for additional capacity is not opening old power plants. 
There are many more cost effective ways to meet this need, like demand
side management (the energy efficiency and load management program that
was zeroed out by DE with the permission of the MPSC in 1996, even
though it was proven to offer valuable benefits for consumer, the
economy, and the environment at a very low cost). 

Anyone have any additional info?

Julie Metty
MUCC Resource Policy Specialist

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