U-M’s Economic Growth Institute joins effort to ease disruption from nuclear facility closure

June 30, 2021
Contact: Jeff Karoub jkaroub@umich.edu
Palisades Nuclear Plant. Image credit: Entergy Nuclear, Flickr

Palisades Nuclear Plant. Image credit: Entergy Nuclear, Flickr

Like many regions across the country, southwestern Michigan is preparing for the closure of a nuclear power facility, the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

The impact of this transition on a community can lead to reduced tax base, lost employment, reduction in services and an unused site. The Economic Growth Institute at the University of Michigan and local partners are responding to craft a new vision, strategy and plan that will lower the risk for and severity of such outcomes while driving renewal and growth after the facility’s planned closing next year.

EGI is working alongside Kinexus Group in partnership with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission to tackle this transition. The SWMPC views the effort as an opportunity for its counties along Lake Michigan to take stock of the region’s many assets and collaborate on a plan of action.

EGI’s resources and expertise will support the community as they chart their economic future. This will include research and community engagement to drive the development of an economic recovery strategy ahead of the closure of the nuclear facility. Facilitating inclusive planning, EGI will create a blueprint for recovery.

The institute will include a student team of research associates to assist with research, facilitation and documentation efforts. Students will see firsthand the challenges communities face in energy transition while also supporting a process that engages the community and builds economic resiliency. The team will also help develop a “community playbook” that other Michigan communities can use when faced with the closure of an energy facility.

In addition to community engagement, EGI will employ its Supply Chain Solutions Model to address the impacts of the plant closure on critical local suppliers. This will include outreach, business assessment and planning, as well as project planning and execution.

“We are excited to be part of this partnership and really commend the local leaders in southwestern Michigan for being proactive in their planning to reduce the impacts of this plant closure on the communities and businesses,” said EGI Director Steve Wilson. “If not addressed, the region could face significant losses. We are looking forward to engaging with community stakeholders to ensure a successful strategy is defined and implemented to keep the region vibrant.”

The project is supported by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and its Assistance to Nuclear Closure Communities program, with additional support from state and regional sponsors.

State of Michigan Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said the partnership is an opportunity to “create a blueprint to recover from such a loss and create a just transition for these communities.”

 

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