DNR seeks proposals for solar energy development on state forest lands

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- DNR News -

June 12, 2020
Contact: David Price, 616-443-1667

DNR invites proposals for utility-scale solar energy development on state forest lands

Site visits in Crawford and Dickinson counties set for June 24-25; all proposals due by Aug. 14

In line with the state’s efforts to move toward cleaner, renewable energy resources, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has released a request for proposals for the development of utility-scale solar energy projects on state forest lands.

Specifically, the DNR is offering land for lease on two former northern Michigan mineral mining sites for the purpose of building solar energy production facilities:

  • Groveland Mine (Dickinson County) – a 673-acre former iron mine that was gifted to the state.
  • 7 Mile Pit (Crawford County) – a 169-acre former sand and gravel mine the state acquired through tax reversion.

The energy produced at these sites would supplement or help to replace current nonrenewable forms of energy generation. The projects will continue Michigan’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering energy costs by moving to renewable energy sources. Additionally, such efforts take brownfields – sites that are often difficult to redevelop due to environmental issues – and, through the installation of large-scale solar arrays, transition them into “brightfields” that return public lands to valuable use.

“Enabling opportunities for cost-effective, renewable energy is good for the environment, for Michigan’s beautiful outdoor spaces, and for the people of Michigan,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

“Our department is entrusted with taking the best possible care of the state’s natural resources and creating quality outdoor experiences,” Eichinger added. “It is just as important that we do our part to foster the development of renewable energy sources that will provide new sources of power for northern Michigan, increase local tax bases and repurpose old mining sites for greater public benefit.”

Michigan’s state forests provide clean air and water, materials for a strong forest products industry and places to hunt, fish, hike and camp. Learn more about how the DNR manages Michigan’s 4 million acres of state forest lands at Michigan.gov/Forestry.

Vendor registration requirements

A company or individual interested in submitting a bid proposal is encouraged to register as a vendor in the state’s financial and bidding system, SIGMA VSS, at Michigan.gov/SIGMAVSS. Registration will be accepted any time up through the RFP closure date of Aug. 14, 2020. Bid documents and all associated attachments will be available only through the SIGMA VSS system, and all prospective bidders must be registered vendors to submit proposals through SIGMA VSS.

The following commodity code is assigned to the DNR’s RFP:

  • 91018 Energy Systems, Solar, Installation Services

Optional site visits

Participation in site visits is not required to submit a bid proposal, but prospective bidders on the Utility-scale Solar Energy Development RFP are strongly encouraged to become familiar with the sites on which they plan to submit a bid proposal. Preference will be given to bidders who attend a site visit.

COVID-19 public health and safety guidelines will be followed during the site visits. Attendees will remain in their own vehicles when traveling to the sites, and the visits will be conducted entirely outdoors, making it easy to practice proper social distancing. The DNR will provide face masks for anyone who needs them.

Site visits are scheduled for:

  • Groveland Mine
    Wednesday, June 24, 10 a.m. (CDT)
    Meet at DNR Field Office located at 4079 M-69, Felch, MI 49831. DNR staff will lead visitors to the Groveland Mine site at 10:15.
  • 7 Mile Pit
    Thursday, June 25, 10 a.m. (EDT)

    Meet at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center located at 104 Conservation Drive, Roscommon, MI 48653. DNR staff will lead visitors to the 7 Mile Pit site at 10:15.

During the site visits, participants can:

  • Learn about the RFP, its components and the documents that must be submitted in a bid response.
  • Ask questions about completing those documents.
  • Learn about and ask questions regarding the Groveland Mine and 7 Mile Pit sites.

To obtain an official answer to any question, a bidder must submit that question to the DNR in writing by July 14 as instructed in the RFP guidelines.

DNR COVID-19 RESPONSE: For details on affected DNR facilities and services, visit this webpage. Follow state actions and guidelines at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

Census 2020