NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - A $1 billion project broke ground in Niles Wednesday, and it is one that is also expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the area.
The ground-breaking was celebrated at the site of the Indeck Niles Energy Center, a power plant that business leaders say will be a "next-generation, state-of-the-art" facility that will impact thousands.
Project officials say that, on average, this type of plant is enough to power roughly 700,000 homes and businesses. The project will create 500 construction jobs, then 21 full-time positions once it's built.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton says it will be a cheaper, more efficient way to produce energy.
"Because of what's being produced, it's going to likely double the tax base in the city of Niles," the congressman said. "That's projects, that's new development.
"We know that the Palisades Plant is going to be closing down in a few years, we know that we're retiring a number of coal plants, particularly in Michigan, so you've got to find that energy someplace else."
Construction on the plant is set to take three years. It is expected to open in March 2022.