MTU team to meet with citizens

NEGAUNEE — A team of faculty and students from Michigan Technological University will be at Negaunee High School from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

Since 2019, the group of engineers and scientists have been studying the potential reuse of the Mather B Mine as a facility for underground pump-hydroelectric energy storage — a system like the pump-hydro storage plant at Ludington, Michigan, but entirely underground, according to a release from MTU.

On Saturday, the team will present a slide show highlighting their findings in the high school auditorium, starting at 2 p.m. At 3 p.m., everyone will move to the cafeteria where the team can spread out in groups for questions and conversations. The researchers are interested to hear from residents so they can be sure the final report fully addresses common questions.

Such an underground facility would not have the same adverse impacts on surface waters and landscape that could concern people about a similarly-scaled facility built aboveground, organizers said.

“While COVID interrupted some of what we intended to do, we have worked on this project from the perspectives of civil and electrical engineers, lawyers, government regulators, historians, social scientists, and planners, among many others. The results are complicated, but provocative and exciting,” said Timothy Scarlett, Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University. “Our team grew to more than 15 professors and 20 graduate and undergraduate students, plus many others who helped. Dozens of people have helped us to think about this idea.”

The draft final report is being reviewed by the city, WPPI Energy, and the Alfred E. Sloan Foundation. When the team gets final comments from those partners, they will respond to remaining questions by adding a preface or conclusion to the report, then post the document for free download.


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