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Coal plant postponement an opportunity for a better energy future in Michigan

May 27, 2010
Consumers Energy Company’s postponement of its proposed 830 megawatt coal-fired power plant near Bay City—announced this morning—is an opportunity to create a cleaner, cheaper and more sustainable mix of energy options for Michigan, the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) said today.

The plant would have effectively narrowed the options to replace its old and obsolete coal-fired power plants with less expensive, job intensive ventures like energy efficiency measures and would have slowed progress on cleaner more modern options like wind power and solar energy development.

MEC President Chris Kolb said the decision should open the door for comprehensive energy planning that includes a more flexible suite of energy solutions. “We reject the notion that this is a ‘victory’ for those of us who opposed this plant,’ Kolb said. “The victory will come over time, as we implement a more robust, job-rich, sustainable, and cost-effective energy policy for Michigan’s future.”

Consumers cited lack of electricity demand and the availability of cheap natural gas as reasons for the delay. They called it a purely economic decision.

The decision tracks with recent reports from the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC). Last week, the PSC concluded that a proposed coal plant in Rogers City was not necessary to meet electricity needs, and would have cost customers an additional $77 each month. Last fall, a PSC staff analysis concluded there was no need for new electricity generating capacity until at least 2022.

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