State Agency Says Michigan Doesn’t Need New Coal Plants

Michigan Public Service Commission Report Could Block Permits for Controversial New Coal Plants

DETROIT, Sept. 09, 2009 – The Michigan Public Service Commission (MSPC) filed a report today stating that there is no need for a coal power plant in Rogers City and that a new plant in Essexville would not be needed until at least 2022. Growing needs for energy could be met by better energy efficiency, renewable energy or other sources, MPSC found. The Environmental Law and Policy Center provided legal counsel for citizen groups who opposed the pollution new plants would cause as well as the electric rate increases necessary to finance building the plants.

“This report shows that clean energy can power Michigan’s future,” said Faith Bugel, Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Moving away from outdated coal power will build our economy and protect our environment. We’ve been sending our money down a mineshaft for too long – clean energy jobs and revenue will help Michigan grow.”

Last year, Governor Granholm ordered the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to examine whether the state’s energy needs could be met by renewable sources and energy efficiency before granting Clean Air Act permits for any new coal plants.

After receiving over 8,000 comments and technical filings, the MPSC staff advised the DEQ today that there is no need for the power from a proposed coal plant inRogers City, requested by Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative. The agency staff also advised that the proposed expansion of Consumers Energy’s Karn Weadock plant in Essexville was not needed until at least 2022, five years after Consumers’ original proposed start date, and then only with a solid commitment to shutdown old dirty plants. The recommendations stemmed from the failure of the utilities to show that Michigan needs more energy in coming years. The utilities also failed to counter growing evidence that renewable energy and energy efficiency – and not dirty coal – could meet future needs.

A final decision on whether to grant Clean Air Act permits to Wolverine and Consumers Energy rests with the state Department of Environmental Quality, which promises a ruling by the end of this year.