Norway-Vulcan Industrial Park – Norway Township, Dickinson County

Park Info

The Norway-Vulcan Industrial Park is 182 acres in size and is roughly 22% developed. Sizes of lots varies depending on type of development. The park has tax incentives available. US Highway 2 is less than 1 mile away. There are no airports or air services in the nearby area. The park does have a rail line running through it that could possibly be utilized.

Utilities for the park include City of Norway for water and some electric, WE Energy for electric, and Norway City for cable and internet.


Environmental Info

According to recently updated FEMA flood data, a flood zone (A zone) exists around the Sturgeon River that runs along the east side of the park area. No development currently exists within this flood zone. The National Wetland Inventory shows several areas of wetlands in the area. Only the southern portion of the park along the Sturgeon River show as possibly having wetlands. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory provides a listing of rare and endangered species by County. Dickinson County has 37 different plant and animal species listed under the MNFI. Because of the sensitivity of specific locations of these species, the MNFI has created the Biological Rarity Index, which provides a ranking (high, moderate, low) of finding a rare or endangered species in a certain location by Public Land Survey System (PLSS) Sections. The entire industrial park is within an area identified as low probability of having endangered species. The area directly south of the park is identified as having a high probability.

The EPA’s ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application) provides data on sensitive habitats and species. Data for the Norway-Vulcan Park does not exist, which draws the conclusion that no sensitive habits are in the area. According to the Michigan DEQ, one site within the park is identified as a PA201 site of environmental contamination – United Abrasive Inc. This site is also identified as having an underground storage tank, which has been closed/removed.

Norway ENV


General Info

Population (U.S. Census, 2010):  2,845 (City of Norway); 26,168 (Dickinson County)

Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (Dickinson County – MI BLM, 2014)

% of population high school graduate or higher: 93.1

% of population bachelor degree or higher: 1.4

% of population with a disability: 15.2

% of population that are veterans: 10.1

Zoning/Development Info

The Industrial Park falls under Township zoning. The ordinance specifically identifies utility substations and wind turbines as conditional uses. Wind turbines are to be primarily for generation of power for the property on which it is located. The ordinance states “This provision shall not be interpreted to prohibit the sale of excess power generated from time to time from a wind turbine designed to meet the energy needs of the principal use.” Minimum lot size within the Industrial district is 20,000 square feet. Minimum lot width is 150 feet. Setbacks are a 50 foot front setback when parking is in the front, 30 foot front setback when parking is the rear, 25 foot side setback, 30 foot rear setback, 40 foot maximum building height. A site plan process in included in the zoning ordinance. Setbacks are present and building heights are restricted to 40 feet.

The Norway/Vulcan Park was one of the smallest Parks in the study.  The two electrical energy intensive companies in the Park are electric motor operations.  There is little opportunity to improve the efficiency of these motors which need to run at a fixed speed and simultaneously.  The decision to operate only during off-peak hours was the only viable option for one company to stay in business. Other businesses were reluctant to adopt a similar strategy, citing concerns about being unable to recruit quality workforce that would be willing to operate under a non-traditional work schedule.

Two companies in the Park generate much wood waste residue which gets used for heating their buildings.  Wood heat is so cheap that no effort is made to insulate. There may be a possibility of increasing building efficiency and then being able to sell excess wood residue, but the benefits of such an upgrade may only yield marginal savings on energy bills.

There is ample land available but new tenants have not been attracted to the area.  All the current tenants have WE Energies as their electric provider, and universally expressed dissatisfaction with their electric service provider. All current tenants would prefer to be customers of the local municipal electric provider, Norway Power & Light. Tenants anticipate lower rates with their local utility. A large majority (estimated average annual 80%) of Norway Power and Light energy is sourced locally from their hydroelectric facility. Industrial park tenants strongly expressed their support for local renewable energy versus buying electricity from a Wisconsin based utility. Every tenant we spoke with voiced their frustration with their inability to become a customer of their own local Norway Power & Light utility.

Energy Efficiency Retrofits

Energy efficiency opportunities exist for all tenants, primarily in lighting.  For the large power and energy users with large electric motors operating at fixed speeds, there is method to become more efficient in their operations.

Natural Gas

Natural gas pipeline is not available at several businesses. With cheap indoor heating provided through waste wood residue, natural gas heating or co-gen is not currently a viable option for business in this industrial park.


Current MI net-metering law allows solar and other alternative energy systems net-metered to the grid to only mitigate the energy charges, and do not help reduce the demand portion of a facility’s energy bill. All existing customers are large energy users with machines with large loads, subsequently have large power demands, making net-metered solar unviable.


In addition to high demand loads discussed above, the industrial park lacks enough space to accommodate a wind turbine to make wind viable.


Geothermal heating and cooling is not implemented by anyone at this time. Despite low electric rates and the absence of gas pipeline to some businesses in the park, the high cost of upgrading existing heating infrastructure combined with the cheap cost of current heating fuel (waste wood) makes Geothermal heating a very low viability for most businesses in this industrial park.


Two companies repurpose residual product (barks, chips etc.) for heating their buildings. The small size of their operation and limited waste product makes scaling this operation to a larger biomass facility unviable.

Industrial Waste Heat Recapture

No known waste heat sources.