Jackson-based Consumers Energy today announced it will close seven of its oldest coal plants, a move that will see rates for its 1.8 million electric customers outside of metro Detroit drop by a total of $38 million.
“Providing customers with affordable energy costs is one of our key principles,” says David Mengebier, senior vice president of governmental and regulatory affairs at Consumers Energy. “That’s helping Michigan companies create jobs, expand their operations, and open new facilities here. It’s also vitally important that as we close coal plants, we ensure future electric reliability for Michigan and our customers.”
The coal plants are located in Muskegon, Hampton Township (near Bay City), and Luna Pier in Monroe County. The seven coal plants — capable of generating nearly 1,000 megawatts of electricity — make up two-thirds of Consumers Energy’s coal portfolio.
“While we honor the 60 years of service by the Classic Seven (the nickname for the coal plants), Michigan will now become a little greener with improvements in air quality and reduced water usage,” he says.
Mengebier says by shutting down the plants, the utility will reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent, its water usage by 40 percent, and it will see a 40 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulates.
Last month, the utility announced its natural gas customers will begin to see lower energy prices in April, which could save the average customer $75 a year.â€‹
Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.