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Utility to build 2 new UP power plants under deal with mine

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — An Upper Peninsula iron ore mine will buy power for 20 years from a utility through an agreement designed to provide a long-term power solution for the region whose residents have faced uncertainty over rate hikes.

Under the deal announced Monday, Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group will add 170 megawatts of natural gas-powered electricity across two new sites in the U.P. The power will supply Cleveland-based Cliff Natural Resources’ Tilden Mine and other customers.

The agreement stems from a 2015 settlement with the state of Michigan. WEC’s coal-fired Presque Isle Power Plant would still close by 2020.

Gov. Rick Snyder says the new deal, which his administration helped facilitate and which still requires regulatory approval, is “extremely promising, especially given the ability to easily adapt to changing demands.”

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