COVERT, MI — Michigan State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks today applauded the announcement of a more than $1.2 million grant being awarded for economic recovery and planning as Southwest Michigan prepares for the closure of the Palisades Nuclear Generating Station in 2022.
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $969,261 grant to the Southwestern Michigan Planning Commission to develop an economic recovery strategy ahead of the closure of Palisades.
The federal funds will be matched with $242,316 in state and private funds provided by the Michigan Department of Treasury, Michigan State Housing and Development Authority and Consumers Energy, the Michigan Department of Treasury said in a news release.
“Our energy supplies are changing — and the Michigan Department of Treasury is proactively working with communities as we all navigate closures of existing facilities that have been important parts of local economies for decades,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said in the news release.
“This is an opportunity for us to help bring together resources and expertise to support communities as they chart their economic future. Together, we can create a blueprint to recover from such a loss and create a just transition for these communities,” Eubanks said.
The funds are part of a statewide effort to implement the Energy Transition Impact Project (ETIP).
Created under Executive Directive 2020-10, ETIP is meant to help communities overcome significant issues associated with the closure of an aging power plant, such as reduced tax base, lost employment, significant reduction in services, site remediation, environmental justice and the need for economic development.
The plant is among the county’s largest taxpayers. In 2016, Palisades paid $9.9 million in property taxes to Van Buren County.
With community input, the state Treasury Department has been providing analysis, assistance, expertise and planning to assist in developing an energy transition strategy for areas affected by changes in the energy industry and the sources of energy generation.
“Van Buren County believes in a proactive, holistic approach to mitigate the job, real estate, human capital and tax revenue impacts resulting from the closure of Palisades,” Palisades Project Director for Van Buren County John Faul said in a prepared statement.
“We welcome and appreciate the wonderful opportunity this project presents to collaborate with our state and federal partners for investment in Van Buren County that we expect to grow out of this work.”
Obtaining the U.S. Commerce Department’s EDA grant required the efforts of federal, state, local and private industry partners to collectively work together, the news release states.
“Consumers Energy is committed to investing in Michigan communities as we transition to new energy resources to power our future,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation. “The Consumers Energy Foundation is proud to show that through our $140,000 grant to support Southwest Michigan’s efforts to continue to grow and thrive.”
The project is being partially funded under EDA’s Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program.
Closures of nuclear power plants throughout the United States have had a significant impact on the economic foundations of surrounding communities through sudden job losses and a reduction to the local tax base.
The EDA works with communities facing structural economic adjustments, including those impacted by nuclear power plant closures, according to the news release. To learn more about ETIP, go to Michigan.gov/ETIP.
According to Entergy, the owner of Palisades, the plant provides 600 full-time, highly skilled jobs, plus an 1,000 additional jobs during refueling outages; and contributes $350,000 annually to support community events and non-profit organizations.
The plant provides about 800 megawatts of energy to Southwest Michigan, Entergy said.
Plans call for the plant to be closed in 2022.
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