Michigan’s largest utility plans to shut down coal plants by 2025

By cassini83 (Own work) [Public domain]via Wikimedia Commons

Regulators have approved a plan by Michigan’s largest utility to stop burning coal for power generation by 2025.

Consumers Energy aims to obtain more than 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2040 and to harness at least 8,000 megawatts of solar power by then.

Consumers Energy media relations manager Brian Wheeler said they have already started letting communities, farmers and landowners know that they are looking for sites to develop new solar projects.

While concerns about renewables often cite cost, Wheeler said once the company shuts down its coal-fired plants, customers are expected to actually see savings.

“Before, you saw that you could either have ‘dirty and cheap’ energy, like with coal, or renewables would be clean, but also expensive,” Wheeler said. “That equation has really changed. And now we find that we can add renewable energy while keeping costs low for our customers. »

Opponents of the company’s clean energy plan say solar and wind are not reliable enough sources for high demand in the state, and the loss of coal may exacerbate problems with blackouts and network issues.

Wheeler said now that Michigan has entered the summer months, it’s important for the public to be involved in keeping the power grid running smoothly. He urged people to shift the times of day they run appliances and other energy uses away from peak summer afternoons.

“It actually has a benefit on your bill,” Wheeler said, “but also on the grid, because we’re not building power plants just for a few hot summer days. So we really want people to be involved We want people to think about their own energy use and understand that they play a part in fighting climate change.

Consumers Energy and the state’s other utility, DTE Energy, have payment assistance programs to help households struggling to pay their utility bills. Wheeler notes that they can contact the company directly or call 211 for help logging in.

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