Schiavo leaves CF City Council
CRYSTAL FALLS—The monthly meeting of the Crystal Falls City Council on May 13 started out with the loss of one of the council members.
Councilor Adam Schiavo resigned toward the beginning of the meeting. After the meeting, Clerk Tara Peltoma described the parting as being “no issue.” Peltoma stated that Schiavo had little choice in the matter as he is in the process of getting married and is also moving out of the area as a consequence of that decision, and that overall, he was sad to leave.
Much of the rest of the meeting was taken up by a presentation given by WPPI Energy, which is based out of Sun Prairie, Wis. The presentation was given by Mike Peters, president and chief executive officer of the company.
The company has ties to the Upper Peninsula and can personally deliver 431 megawatts of energy on its own via a mix of coal and natural gas facilities, as well as a small solar unit. However, it has power purchase agreements with a wide variety of power sources, including hydroelectric and
wind turbines. It even has an agreement with the venerable Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant in Wisconsin, and altogether these other sources give WPPI nearly 750 additional megawatts of power to sell on top of what it already produces.
WPPI advocates for local control of utilities. Crystal Falls is already a member of WPPI, along with Baraga, Norway, L’Anse and Gladstone. Peters described Crystal Falls as an avant garde member, a community that has been an early adopter of its more advanced tools and services. WPPI is also in direct competition with the Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO). L’Anse’s decision to pull out of the UPPCO network in 2017 has led to UPPCO directly naming WPPI in a court case against the village, according to a 2018 report by the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton.
Two areas that Peters touched on during his presentation were electric vehicles and power grid security. The latter area specifically focused on “cybersecurity,” basically how secure the grid is from attacks over the Internet. Thorough online defense can be expensive; as such, Peters suggests that communities choose a level of security that is appropriate to the likelihood that they’ll be attacked, specifically saying that Crystal Falls does not need the same order of defense – and cost – that larger sections of the grid might need.