JACKSON, Mich., March 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy's seven oldest coal plants are shutting down by April 15 after serving Michigan for more than 60 years. Collectively, the plants – affectionately nicknamed the "Classic Seven" – are capable of generating nearly 1,000 megawatts of electricity. Only one other utility in the U.S. is retiring a higher percentage of its coal generation than Consumers Energy.
"We honor the men and women that have worked at our Classic Seven coal plants, which have powered Michigan's industrial growth, kept the lights on in our homes, and made amazing human and business contributions to their host communities," said Dan Malone, senior vice president of energy resources for Consumers Energy.
Consumers Energy's Classic Seven coal plants include:
- B.C. Cobb 4 and 5, Muskegon, 320 megawatts (MW).
- J.C.Weadock 7 and 8, Hampton Township (Bay County), 310 MW.
- J.R. Whiting 1, 2 and 3, Luna Pier, 328 MW.
"These plants have a long track record of running safely, productively and efficiently. In fact, Whiting's Unit 3 recently set a company record by operating continuously for 679 consecutive days, the sixth longest run for a U.S. power plant," said Malone. He noted the company is working to accommodate placement of interested employees at other Consumers Energy sites.
"We purchased the Jackson Gas Plant at one-quarter the cost of a new plant to replace the power from the Classic Seven and continue to invest in wind and other renewable energy sources. This ensures Consumers Energy has the power necessary to serve its customers affordably and reliably, with cleaner sources of energy," said Malone. "However, significant concerns remain about the ability of out-of-state energy marketers to serve their customers in Michigan's partially deregulated market. As Michigan and other Midwestern states shut down their coal plants, the surplus power on which these marketers rely to meet their customers' needs will dry up," he added.
"Consumers Energy has one of the most aggressive strategies in the U.S. for transitioning to clean energy sources. Shutting down the Classic Seven plants reduces our carbon footprint by 25 percent, reduces air emissions by 40 percent, and results in a water use reduction of 40 percent. In addition to adding the Jackson plant, we're exceeding the state's requirement for adding Michigan-based renewable energy to serve customers."
"With two-thirds of our coal fleet shutting down, seven out of 12 coal plants, now is the time for Lansing policymakers to update Michigan's energy law and ensure customers have reliable, affordable and sustainable power going forward," said Malone.
Michigan State Utility Workers Council President Patrick Dillon also acknowledged the heroic work by employees and union members at the Classic Seven units. "These individuals made great personal sacrifices over many decades to ensure that Michigan had power, regardless of weather, economic conditions or social issues. We are grateful for their service."
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
LEAVING IT BETTER: Consumers Energy's actions to close seven coal plants will produce environmental benefits:
- The company is reducing its carbon footprint by 25 percent.
- A 40 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates.
- It will reduce water use by 40 percent.
SUSTAINABILITY: Consumers Energy ranked second in a national survey of energy providers for sustainable business practices: https://www.consumersenergy.com/News.aspx?id=8320&year=2015
For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.
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SOURCE Consumers Energy