LANSING, MI – Two former Michigan mine sites will be converted into full-scale solar power operations.
Circle Power of Royal Oak has secured a 5-year ground lease contract with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to develop large-scale solar panels at the sites, which will be developed through its subsidiary, Copper Country Power I, LLC.
“Providing profitable renewable energy opportunities is good for the environment, for Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces and for the people of Michigan,” said MNR Director Dan Eichinger.
“Our department is responsible for taking the best possible care of the state’s natural resources and creating quality outdoor experiences. Equally important is that we do our part to foster the development of renewable energy sources that will provide new energy sources for northern Michigan, increase the local tax base, and reallocate old mine sites for greater public benefit.
The two sites to be developed for solar power include the Groveland Mine in Dickinson County, a 347-acre former iron tailings site donated to the state, and 7 Mile Pit in Crawford County, a property of 169 acres previously used for sand and gravel extraction. the State acquired by tax reversion.
If successful, the energy produced at these sites would complement or help replace current non-renewable forms of energy like oil, gas and other fossil fuels, according to the DNR.
A timetable for the development of the networks has not been established since the two mining sites have been left in a degraded state.
Criteria for establishing these sites included open land with minimal forest cover, no conflict with rare, threatened and endangered species or sensitive ecosystems, and compliant with local zoning plans and ordinances.
Copper Country Power I, LLC was selected for development over Utopian Power, LLC of South Lyon and Telamon Enterprise Ventures, LLC of Carmel, Indiana.
“An installed project could provide $ 50,000 to 100,000 per year in lease payments to MNR in addition to generating state and local revenue through property taxes,” said Jordan Roberts, managing partner of Circle Power.
Michigan Energy Options, an East Lansing nonprofit, helps MNR with the technical aspects of understanding solar energy.
“The potential development of two former mining sites for large-scale solar power, in my opinion, ticks all the boxes,” said John A. Kinch, executive director of Michigan Energy Options.
“The location does not adversely affect natural lands and waters managed by MNR and furthermore is a great reuse of legacy industrial properties. It does not affect private land holdings. What the project does is spur the creation of cleaner, renewable energy in Michigan, with MNR leading by example. My non-profit organization is delighted to be working on these and future projects with the DNR.
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