Sault Ste. Marie Industrial Air Park – City of Sault Ste. Marie, Chippewa County
The Sault Ste. Marie Industrial AirPark is 52.97 acres in size and is roughly 34% occupied. A 200 acre parcel on the southwest side of the runway will be developed into additional industrial, commercial and housing sites. Sizes of lots varies depending on development, and the price of land per acre is roughly $5,000 per acre, which is negotiable depending on development and job creation. The park has tax increment funding available to assist with site prep, permit fees, sewer/water/gas/electric/fiber service into buildings. Other state funding (MEDC, MDOT, USDA, USEDA) is available based on job creation. The I-75 Business Spur is less than 1 mile away, and the Sault Ste. Marie Municipal Airport/Sanderson Field is on-site. The airport provides a 5,234 x 100 foot runway. No rail is located onsite, but a rail spur is available off-site.
Utilities for the park include Cloverland Electric Co-op for electric service, City of Sault Ste. Marie for water, DTE for natural gas, and a number of high-speed internet providers are available.
According to FEMA, the park site is not within any floodplains. The National Wetland Inventory shows no areas in or around the park that contain wetlands. The Michigan Natural Features Inventory provides a listing of rare and endangered species by County. Chippewa County has over 100 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 Sault Ste. Marie Industrial Park is not in or near any identified BSI areas.
The EPA’s ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application) provides data on sensitive habitats and species. Data from the city map shows several sensitive habitats along the St. Marys River, but nothing near or in the Industrial Park. According to the Michigan DEQ, no sites of environmental contamination (PA201 sites) are present within the park or the immediate area. Some sites with underground storage tanks are nearby (Sanderson Field, Kmart, and a National Weather Station), but none within the park boundary.
Population (U.S. Census, 2010): 14,144 (City of Sault Ste. Marie); 38,520 (Chippewa County)
Unemployment Rate: 9.4% (Chippewa County – MI BLM, 2014)
% of population high school graduate or higher: 89.0
% of population bachelor degree or higher: 6.1
% of population with a disability: 18.8
% of population that are veterans: 7.6
The Industrial Park falls under City Zoning, and is in an Industrial Zoning District.
Precision Edge is a great example of a new successful energy conscious business in the U.P. When they originally built their current building they installed high efficiency T-8 lighting. Now, 16 years later they have made the commitment to upgrade the entire facility to LED lighting. In their office area all light switches have guards to prevent easy manual access because all the lighting is on occupancy controlled sensors.
Precision Edge has plucked all of the low hanging energy efficiency fruit, yet they continue to look for areas of improvement. Their machines are all new and have limited opportunities for increased efficiency. Operating in a controlled temperature and humidity environment they are look at ways to maximize HVAC efficiency.
This facility is not considering alternative energy solutions (wind /solar/biomass) because energy is affordable and they do not want to divert capitol and manpower towards anything other than their core business. With a growing business and a need to expand, they built a new facility in the Lower Peninsula, where electric rates were nearly double, because they consider the availability of workers a much higher factor than the cost of energy.
Energy Efficiency Retrofits
Precision Edge demonstrates a proactive to energy efficiency, having already realized savings through energy efficiency opportunities like LED lighting retrofits. When a business replaces existing equipment or expands its facility, some marginal savings may be achieved through newer energy efficient equipment.
Low energy rates and very low demand rates make any creative application of natural gas co-gen (CHP) systems currently unviable at this park.
After savings through energy efficiency retrofits are prioritized and realized, Solar PV remains a somewhat viable option for many businesses in this park. However, with the size of business operations and monthly energy consumption, large businesses may be reluctant to assume the risk of making large capacity investments in alternative generation solutions.
While large resolution wind maps provided by NREL indicate that Sault St. Marie has a marginal capacity for wind adoption, the industrial park is surrounded by open expanses of land that could be ideal for small scale wind generation. However, this industrial park is close to the Salt. St. Marie airport, making any possible wind projects unviable in this industrial park.
Geothermal is currently not implemented in any business in this park. Low electric rates make geothermal a viable option. Historically low natural gas prices in addition to building heating costs for large manufacturing facilities like Precision Edge only constituting only a small portion of their energy expenditure, make heating and cooling using geothermal a low priority option for all customers in this industrial park.
Biomass is not currently implemented in this park. With the nature of businesses in the park, Biomass is likely to remain an unviable option for the foreseeable future.
Industrial Waste Heat Recapture
No know waste heat sources, and insufficient information to make strong recommendations.