Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Cavitt: Dems must own Lincoln biomass plant shutdown
RELEASE|June 12, 2024
Contact: Cam Cavitt

State Rep. Cam Cavitt on Wednesday blasted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lansing Democrats as Northeast Michigan begins to feel the effects of new radical energy laws. The Viking Energy Biomass plant in Lincoln recently shut down, putting more than 70 workers out of a job.

“By forcing a shift to renewable energy, Democrats are driving a green knife through Northeast Michigan,” said Cavitt, R-Cheboygan. “The governor might as well have fired these people herself because she is directly to blame for this shutdown. They failed to fix inflation. They failed to fix our energy grid. Now they’re going to spend all summer celebrating an energy package that’s putting my friends and neighbors out on the street. This is about more than just energy production; this is about people’s lives.”

According to its website, the Michigan Biomass plant in Lincoln produced up to 18 megawatts of energy, enough to power an average of 14,000 homes. The plant employed 21 full-time staff onsite and sustained more than 50 other full-time jobs related to handling, processing, and transporting the 225,000 tons of wood needed annually for fuel.

Cavitt noted that the shutdown will have a devasting effect on the forest product industry. The plant will leave timber companies without a place to dispose of wood byproducts.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) rejected a petition from Consumers Energy (Consumers), who sought an early contract termination. The decision was supposed to buy plant employees more time, but the company ultimately decided to shut down even though its contract with Consumers runs through 2027.

In denying the petition, the MPSC cited concerns about hypothetical savings Consumers promised in their original application. Consumers planned to turn to unreliable wind and solar energy to replace energy output and capacity lost. The MPSC said the switch alone would likely not be able to cover the lost energy production, which is especially concerning considering the regional transmission organization, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), has warned of tightening energy supplies.

“People aren’t just losing their jobs; families are losing access to affordable and reliable energy. I’m not sure how Michigan will transfer to wind and solar energy on the governor’s radical timeline if energy producers keep abandoning our state,” Cavitt said. “We need alternative power sources like natural gas and biomass if we ever hope to have a sustainable and reliable energy grid. Decisions like this make it clear that wind and solar will never be the end all and be all to power Michigan.”


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