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Economic Impact of the St. Clair Power Plant

Built in 1953, the St. Clair Power Plant has been a critical employer and taxpayer in St. Clair County, Michigan. Owned and operated by DTE Energy (DTE), this coal-fired electric generating facility is located in East China Township and is situated on the St. Clair River, which is along the international boundary between Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. DTE also owns and operates the Belle River Power Plant, another coal-fired facility located in China Township.

In June 2016, DTE announced that it will retire the St. Clair Power Plant by 2023. A few months later, in September 2016, DTE announced that would construct a natural gas combined-cycle (NGCC) power plant on its existing property in St. Clair County. The potential sites on which DTE has considered building the plant are located across East China and China Townships.

These changes raised concerns over potential job losses in the county and fundamental changes in the local economy and tax base. The St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Commission (St. Clair County MPC) and the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County (EDA) retained Anderson Economic Group (AEG) to perform an economic impact study on the St. Clair Power Plant and proposed gas-fired plant.

The purposes of this report are to:
o    Perform an analysis of the impacts of the closure of the St. Clair Power Plant and the commissioning of the proposed new power plant on employment and earnings in St. Clair County;
o    Perform an analysis of the impacts of the closure of the St. Clair Power Plant and the commissioning of the proposed new power plant on property tax revenues for local governments in St. Clair County;
o    Recommend strategies for mitigating any potential negative effects resulting from closing the existing power plant and opening the prospective plant.

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