State Approves Renaissance Zone to Support Verso Paper's Quinnesec Mill Energy Plant Project in the Central Upper Peninsula

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First Renaissance Zone issued in state

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced state approval of a 15-year, 34.51-acre Forest Products Processing Renaissance Zone at Verso Paper’s Quinnesec Mill in Breitung Township in the central Upper Peninsula. It is the first such zone issued in the state. 

“Expanding our capacity to generate electricity from biomass is one of the ways in which we’re increasing our leadership in clean energy technology,” Granholm said. “Clean energy projects supported by the state are creating and retaining jobs as well as helping us move to renewable sources of energy.” 

The $43-million energy plant project will more than double the mill’s capacity to generate electricity from wood fuel, reducing the use of electricity produced from coal. It includes construction, boiler modifications and installation of new equipment and, importantly, recognizes the socio-economic value of the mill’s existing 472 jobs.  

“The designation of the state’s first Forest Products Processing Renaissance Zone is especially important to Dickinson County and the surrounding communities,” Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Greg Main said. “It allows a local corporation to build on the area’s existing natural resources to create new business and employment opportunities, and at the same time helps diversify the economy.”   

A Renaissance Zone allows a company operating within the zone to operate free of virtually all state and local taxes over the life of the designation.  

“The designation of the Renaissance Zone enables Verso to move forward with our Renewable Energy Project at the Quinnesec Mill. This is in full alignment with Verso's energy strategy, which is to reduce overall energy consumption, generate more green energy from renewable biomass and reduce our carbon footprint, all while reducing costs,” said Mike Jackson, Verso’s President and CEO. 

Michigan’s Renaissance Zone program is administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.