MARSHALL - A gas-fired power facility could begin construction by 2019 at Brooks Industrial Park, bringing about 25 jobs with it. The proposed Marshall Energy Center would have two natural gas-powered plants that will together provide 1,000 megawatts, officials said during a discussion at Monday's Marshall City Council meeting. Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance CEO Scott Fleming said that would power 1,000 Meijer stores.
Willard Ladd, of White Plains, New York-based Development Partners, the firm that will create the facility, said the construction could create hundreds of jobs directly and about 60 indirect jobs, in maintenance, for instance, or with suppliers. A MAEDA news release said there will be $400 million or more invested in each plant. During the meeting, council member Joe Caron asked Ladd about the lifetime of the plants.
Ladd said such plants typically run for about 30 years, but that the facility will fill a much-needed role in the Michigan's energy infrastructure.
Ladd pointed to a state map of power generation, noting that most of it happens on the east and west edges of the state and often in aging coal plants.
"The state of Michigan itself has to replace a number of these coal plants that are shutting down," Ladd said. "This is part of a movement."
Ladd said the plants would tap into existing gas lines for power. Hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, will not be used, Fleming said.
Other council members asked about the environmental impact. Member Brent Williams wanted to know if warm water discharged from the plants would hurt the environment.
Ladd said the water would be cooled before discharge and would be clean. The water may go into Talmadge Creek, where an Enbridge pipeline break caused about a million gallons of oil to spill in 2010.
"You can't really send it to a water treatment facility because it's too clean," Ladd said. "It's too large a volume to be able to handle it."
Fleming said the plant could use millions of gallons of water per day. That water has to be a certain temperature to be safe for life in the creek, and Ladd said figuring that out will be part of an environmental review process that hasn't started yet.
MAEDA and the Marshall Local Development Finance Authority worked together to bring the plant to Marshall, a MAEDA news release said.If it goes forward, the facility could be online by 2021.The plants will sit on 75 acres at the southern end of the industrial park, just off Old 27 and Pratt Avenue, but only take up a third of those acres. The large towers will emit steam, not smoke.
Power from the plants would go to residents and beyond, but also provide an incentive for industries to locate their facilities in Marshall, close to the plants, Fleming said.