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Lincoln – A company that burns wood for energy has struck a new deal to produce power for Consumers Energy.

The Alpena News reports that Viking Energy reached an eight-year contract with the utility. State regulators have signed off on the deal. Viking operates biomass plants in Alcona and Missaukee counties.

Viking Energy manager Neil Taratuta says the contract was crucial to keeping operations alive. He says the price of power has dropped because of natural gas plants and wind energy.

The newspaper says Hillman Power, which also burns wood products, west of Alpena, still is negotiating with Consumers Energy. Hillman village manager Dave Post says the power plant is the community’s largest taxpayer.

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