This Utility Sees a Coal-free FutureDavid Wagman | June 14, 2018
Michigan-based Consumers Energy says it plans to eliminate its use of coal and increase its use of renewable energy from 11 percent today to 43 percent by 2040.
The goals are part of the utility's Integrated Resource Plan, which it filed in mid-June with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
The proposed strategy also includes retiring two coal-fired units at the Karn Generating Complex near Bay City in 2023.
Karn units 1 and 2, located in Hampton Township near Bay City, came online in 1959 and 1961, respectively, and are capable of generating 515 megawatts of electricity. The retirement of Karn 1 and 2 continues a move away from coal as a generation fuel source that began in April 2016 with retirement of seven generating units located at the former Whiting, Cobb and Weadock sites.
Under the latest plan, the utility would increase renewable energy from 11 percent today to 37 percent by 2030 and 43 percent by 2040. The increased use of renewable resources would help the company achieve its goal, announced earlier this year, to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent and eliminate the use of coal to generate electricity by 2040.
Under the resource plan, demand response, energy efficiency and grid modernization tools would take on more significant roles. These "virtual" power plants would help reduce energy demand 22 percent by 2040. Consumers Energy also would add 5,000 megawatts of solar energy capacity throughout the 2020s, along with wind and battery storage.
Consumers Energy provides natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.