President Wong Speaks at the Ground Breaking Ceremony
MARQUETTE, MICH.- NMU broke ground for the new renewable engery plant next to the central heating plant on the corner of Wright Street and Sugarloaf Ave May 3.
President Wong was excited that the project was finally getting underway.
When plans started in 2004, the original plant was estimated to cost $66 million. With the help of the Johnson Control Company, NMU was able to make the plant possible cutting the cost to $16.4 million.
The exsisting heating plant supplies heat to the majority of campus with natural gas and is the distribution point for electricity on campus. The new plant will be an addition to suppletment the exsisting plant.
Construction Management majors at NMU are assisting with the project. Senior Austin Coon says it is an exciting opportunity for students.
NMU’s Board of Trustees Chair, Mr. Cloyd, says the new plant will produce 87 percent of NMU’s thermal needs while producing 16 percent of the campus’s electricity from a turbine.
It will burn wood chips and wood by products from the U.P., such as sawdust and bark. Cloyd stressed the importance of fuel flexibility saying that NMU will be able to react to financial changes in the marketplace of fuel sources.
Cloyd says that NMU is working hard to increase sustainability, decrease utility spending, and increase jobs which also helps the Upper Peninsula.
The new plant will meet the standards of the Environmental Control Agency and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
NMU will save an estimated $5.1 million dollars after the dept of the facility is paid off in 20 years.