Michigan Utility Goes Shopping for NatGas-Fired Power Plant

Pssst. Hey buddy. Got a spare power plant you want to sell? Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest utility, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties. Consumers is canceling an existing contract with Entergy’s Palisades nuclear plant in 2018 and needs to replace the electricity they were buying from the plant. So Consumers is going shopping–for a natural gas-fired power plant that can provide up to 800 megawatts of electricity. Who wants to lay odds that whichever plant they end up buying will be supplied, at least partially, but Utica/Marcellus gas…
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Rover Pipe Uses Local Sheriff’s Deputies for Security in Mich.

Sadly, it’s come down to this. Even when entering a property to cut a few trees, pipeline companies like Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline must now have a police escort. Rover is paying $60/hour to have Sheriff’s deputies escort tree trimming crews in Livingston County, MI, following an incident where one landowner told tree clearing workers working near (not on) his property that he was going to kill them–according to court records. Seems like a sensible precaution to have the cops handy, to keep the peace and to keep the nutters in check…
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Michigan Judge Rules Rover Pipeline Can Access Holdout Properties

On Feb. 3, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final approval to Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline project–a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada (see ET Rover Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). When FERC approves a project like Rover, the project automatically gets the power to invoke eminent domain against landowners who refuse to sign easements to allow the pipeline. Rover has done that in several states, including Ohio and Michigan. Landowners who own 116 tracts of land in Michigan where Rover will traverse have refused to negotiate or allow Rover access to their land. Those days are over. A federal judge in Michigan has just ruled Rover can immediately seize land along the route of the pipeline and begin tree clearing and construction…
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FERC Green Lights Rover Pipeline Construction

Along with chainsaws buzzing (until Mar. 31) and wood chips flying, Rover Pipeline has now started the backhoes. As MDN previously reported, on Feb. 3 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its final approval for Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline project, a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada (see ET Rover Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). At the time we observed Rover had received permission to clear trees before the Mar. 31 “can’t kill roosting bats” deadline. However, Rover did not have permission to begin digging trenches and laying pipeline. That permission came this past Friday…
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Rover Pipeline Files Eminent Domain Against 58 Michigan Landowners

Earlier this month Rover Pipeline, a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada, received its final authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday (see ET Rover Pipeline Gets Final Approval by FERC). Because FERC was late in issuing its final approval, and because Energy Transfer, the builder of Rover, has promised to deliver the project on time, there is no time to waste. As soon as the final approval was issued, Rover filed eminent domain lawsuits against Ohio landowners who have refused for over a year to negotiate (see Time’s Up – Rover Pipe Uses Eminent Domain on Holdout OH Landowners). As it turns out, Ohio isn’t the only state where Rover has filed eminent domain lawsuits. The company has now filed 58 such suits in Michigan as well…
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Indeck Gets Michigan Approval for $1B Gas-Powered Electric Plant

Indeck Niles Power Plant – artist’s rendering (click for larger version)

Indeck Energy announced in October a plan to build a $1 billion electric generating plant (powered by natural gas) in Niles, Michigan, not far from Chicago (see $1B Electric Plant Planned Near Chicago, M-U Connection?). There has been no mention of Marcellus/Utica gas feeding the plant (so far), but our own speculation is that with the reversal of the Rockies Express (REX) pipeline which now flows gas from the Marcellus/Utica west to Illinois, we suspect our gas will be used to power the plant. Good news: the State of Michigan has given its blessing and approval for the project and Indeck plans to begin construction on the 1000-megawatt plant this year…
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Marcellus/Utica Gas to Help Power Holland, MI Electric Plant

holland-miIt’s a smallish project in Michigan, but it’s important for the Marcellus/Utica nonetheless. Construction is almost complete on a $240 million, 145-megawatt natural gas-fired electric plant in Holland, MI. The plant will go online in February 2017. At least some of the natural gas that will supply the plant will come from the Marcellus/Utica, according to an official. When the plant goes online, it will provide around two-thirds of the electricity used in Holland. From one small power plant. Don’t you just love clean-burning, home-grown energy?…
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Michigan Chemistry Council Fully Supports Rover Pipeline

ET Rover Pipeline map
Click for larger version

So often we only hear about those who oppose safe pipelines (because it flows “fossil fuels”)–and not from those who support pipelines. There is one industry that knows the importance of new pipelines. Indeed, their livelihood depends on those pipelines. That industry? Chemicals. Natural gas in its various hydrocarbon forms (methane, ethane, butane, propane, pentane, isobutane) is used to make just about everything you touch throughout the day. From shoes to clothes to packaging to tires to shingles to carpets to paint…without fossil fuels there would be no modern-day life. We would be living in the Stone Ages, dying early deaths and never traveling more than a few miles from where we live. Those in the chemical manufacturing industry understand and support the vital role of pipelines in delivering the raw material they use to create our modern way of life. The Michigan Chemistry Council recently contributed the following editorial in support the Rover pipeline project–a $3.7 billion, 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada…
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Michigan AG Lends His Full Support to NEXUS Pipeline

bill-schuette
Michigan AG Bill Schuette

In June 2012 Reuters tried to stir up trouble against Chesapeake Energy by broadcasting “leaked” emails that somehow magically appeared on the Reuters doorstep that supposedly show Chesapeake trying to collude with Encana Energy to keep the price of Michigan state land oil and gas leases artificially low (see Did Reuters Break the Law with Latest Chesapeake Story?). Eventually Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed charges against Chesapeake, even though the federal government investigated and didn’t find anything worth pursuing. Schuette put his reputation on the line and was hell-bent to ensure he got something/anything out of Chesapeake. Schuette finally has a settlement–for a measly $25 million (see Michigan Succeeds in Shaking Down Chesapeake for Measly $25M). It likely cost Schuette’s department more $25 million to pursue Chesapeake. But, Schuette’s shakedown let him save face. Perhaps in an effort to repair the damage done to his reputation with the drilling industry, Schuette recently delivered the keynote speech at the Michigan Oil and Gas Association’s Annual Meeting. We have a copy of the speech below. The interesting part is Schuette’s full-throated support for the NEXUS Pipeline: “A great example of the work being done in the energy industry is the DTE NEXUS pipeline. The NEXUS project is a way to look to the future, and ensure that Michigan customers have the natural gas supply we need. I applaud the work being done to make sure we have efficient, modern pipelines in our state.” We’re glad to see Schuette, a Republican, back on the right side of the ledger…
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Buckeye Partners Expanding MI/OH Refined Products Pipeline, Again

West to East Project Map
West to East Project Map – click for larger version

Buckeye Partners is a publicly traded master limited partnership (MLP) that owns and operates 6,000 miles of pipeline. One of those pipelines is the Michigan/Ohio refined products pipeline, which we reported on in April 2015 (see Buckeye Partners Expanding MI/OH Refined Products Pipeline East). At that time Buckeye was pushing its Michigan/Ohio Pipeline Expansion Project to expand the pipeline for “refined petroleum products” (things like gasoline, kerosene and heating oil) to run it from Woodhaven and Detroit, Michigan, and from Toledo and Lima, Ohio, to destination points in both Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. By all accounts the initial expansion was a success, because Buckeye is now conducting an open season for the second phase of the expansion project. Why talk about a gasoline/heating oil pipeline? Because it’s possible that some of the oil that gets refined into gas and heating fuel flowing through this pipeline comes from the Marcellus/Utica…
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DTE Energy Wants Ratepayers to Pay if NEXUS Pipe is Unprofitable

Map_NEXUS_Full
NEXUS Pipeline Project – click for larger version

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. DTE’s businesses include power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. DTE has its fingers in a lot of energy pies. DTE is one of the main customers for the 255-mile, $2 billion NEXUS interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada (see Spectra Energy Files Formal FERC Application for NEXUS Pipeline). DTE is also one of the backers/partners in NEXUS–providing money for the project. Spectra Energy will be the managing partner that actually builds and maintains NEXUS. DTE has asked Michigan regulators for a guarantee that it can pass along NEXUS costs to gas and electric ratepayers IF the utility’s gas supply costs from NEXUS prove to be unprofitable. That doesn’t sit well with many people, including Michigan’s Attorney General…
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FERC Seeks Input on ET Rover Pipeline – MI Poll Shows 91% Favor

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants to know what landowners and residents along the path of the proposed Energy Transfer Rover pipeline think about the project. ET Rover is a 711-mile Marcellus/Utica natural gas pipeline that will serve mostly U.S. customers. The pipeline will cost $3.7 billion to build and run from PA, WV and eastern OH through OH into Michigan and eventually into Canada. The bulk of the pipeline would run through Ohio (see ET Rover Pipeline Launches New Website, Updated Route Maps). We say ET Rover is “for the children” because the pipeline will generate $91 million in taxes for local schools–in its first year alone (see For the Children: ET Rover Pipeline $91M in School Taxes 1st Year). We spotted a story in a Michigan newspaper about the project. The story says FERC is eliciting feedback until April 11 (be sure to comment!). The story is running a poll of its readers asking them if they support or oppose the project. The results aren’t even close. Some 91% (at the time we wrote this) support the project. See a copy of the poll results below…
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Democrats in Michigan Introduce Bill to Ban ALL Fracking

What is it with Democrats? Are they congenitally anti-drilling? Last week Michigan Democrats introduced a bill that would ban all hydraulic fracturing in the state. But just in case fracking still happens, the bill empowers local municipalities regulate it, and the bill requires wells to be at least a mile away from “sensitive locations” like schools, hospitals, homes and public parks. That is, don’t bother drilling anywhere. Michigan Dems may want to visit Pennsylvania where there are schools with their own gas wells sitting right outside of classroom windows, and hospitals that allow drilling on their property. There have been no ill health effects, and those organizations have reaped millions of dollars in revenue. It seems Dems only want money to slide through their fingers first (the way they derive and hold on to power). Tell your local Michigan House member to vote no on this idiotic bill…
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Spectra Energy Files Formal FERC Application for NEXUS Pipeline

Pop the cork on the champagne bottle! Last Friday Spectra Energy and its partners filed their full, formal application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to get the federal agency’s approval for the NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline project. The NEXUS is a $2 billion, 255-mile interstate pipeline that will run from Ohio through Michigan and eventually to the Dawn Hub in Ontario, Canada. It is a critically needed pipeline to move Utica and Marcellus Shale gas from an over-saturated market in the northeast to markets in the Midwest and Canada. Below is the official good news press release from Spectra Energy announcing the filing…
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OH/MI Forms New Group to Support Rover & NEXUS Pipelines

build the pipelineMay we paint with broad brush-strokes for a moment? It’s been our observation over the years that anti-drillers (and anti-pipeliners, and anti-fossil fuelers) are typically liberal Democrats who have bought into the notion that (a) mankind is catastrophically heating up ole Mother Earth, and (b) they (the lib Dems) are uniquely qualified to run your life for you by choosing your energy sources. They love to tell you how to live your life–i.e. deny you freedom to live your life they way you want to, including selecting your own energy sources. It’s also been our observation that many (not all, but many) of the most vocal antis are hippie retreads who haven’t been this jazzed about a “cause” since the end of the Vietnam war. Yes that’s a very broad generalization and not true in all circumstances–but it’s more true than not. On the other side of the isle, when we’ve attended meetings about fracking and pipelines and FERC scoping hearings–we’ve noticed landowners and small business owners and pro-drillers are the “gray heads with hats” and blue jeans in the crowd. Typically quiet. Perhaps a bit uncomfortable that they’re in the same room with a largely lawless bunch of mouthy antis. The antis tend to form all sorts of groups with innocuous sounding names (Riverkeeper, Mountainkeeper, Trout, Clean Air, Community Rights, etc.). Pro-drillers and landowners? They don’t form groups so much. They don’t protest so much. They’re too busy working their fingers to the bone–paying for the welfare state anti-drillers avail themselves of! So when a group of pro-energy people DO form a group–that’s news. Such a group has formed in Ohio and Michigan in order to support two much-needed pipeline projects–Energy Transfer’s Rover Pipeline and Spectra Energy’s NEXUS Pipeline…
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Univ of Michigan Final Report on Fracking: It Can be Done Safely

MI ReportTwo years ago MDN reported on a University of Michigan research project called the Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment (see Univ of Michigan Reports Explore Future of Fracking in MI). The aim of the two-year project is to help guide policy on shale drilling in the state. It actually ended up taking three years, but the final report was just released (full copy embedded below). The report does not advocate for any particular position, pro or anti-fracking. It simply reports findings and, you know, actual science. Let the policy makers use the information to formulate rules and regulations. Michigan, which does contain shale layers, including the Utica, that may one day be commercially tapped, stands in stark contrast to New York where politics got involved and corrupted the process. In Michigan the science determines the outcomes–but sadly, not in New York. The Michigan study shows that with strict environmental regulations, fracking can be done safely…
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