Consumers Energy to Invest $7 Billion in Michigan

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Consumers Energy plans to invest $7 billion on numerous projects in Michigan, including renewable energy, natural gas, and electric infrastructure from 2013 to 2017, company officials announced Thursday. Already, the utility has invested $235 million in Lake Winds Energy Park in Mason County, $800 million in renovations at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plan, and $750 million to build a natural gas-fired generating plant near Flint.

In 2011, Consumers Energy committed to spending an additional $1 billion with Michigan-based suppliers over the next five years through the state’s Pure Michigan Business Connect initiative. So far, the utility has invested $736 million, in addition to the $2 billion it spends annually on Michigan goods and services, according to a report released by the company on Thursday.

“Consumers Energy’s entire history is in Michigan,” says Dan Bishop, a spokesperson for the utility, which released the first-ever Accountability Report. “Our goal is to work with the communities we serve to help them grow and add jobs. This initiative, which has been more (involved) with state companies, is encouraging job development and growth.”

The utility also says it has invested in clean air equipment for the company’s power plants and the rehabilitation of some of its service centers.

Since 2007, the company says air emissions from its generating plants have fallen significantly and are projected to continue falling through 2020. Over the past 18 years, the company has spent $1.5 billion on technology such as scrubbers and fabric filters to reduce emissions at its coal-fired plants and expects that its mercury emissions will decrease by 83 percent through 2020.

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