FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 2, 2011
Contact: David Holtz, (313-300-4454)
Report: Consumers Energy Said To Abandon Multi-Billion Dollar Project
LANSING – Clean energy advocacy and environmental groups today welcomed the reported decision by Consumer Energy to forgo a proposed giant 830 megawatt coal plant near Bay City.
“This is a tremendous victory for Michigan and a real opportunity for Michigan to grow clean energy jobs,” Sierra Club Michigan Director Anne Woiwode said. “For years, the people of Michigan have spoken loud and clear: No more dirty coal and more clean renewable energy. And today, the citizens of Michigan have a much-deserved victory in the fight to build a strong, clean energy future that will create jobs and make our economy more competitive in the 21st century.”
News of Consumers’ decision came in a press report today from the Saginaw News, quoting Township Supervisor Terry Spegel as saying he had spoken to Consumers officials who gave him the decision to abandon the project.
Michigan Public Service Commission staff had recommended delaying any decision on the coal plant until 2022. 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 not dirty coal – could meet future needs.
The reported decision by Consumers’ parent company, CMS Energy, comes as Consumers recently announced it was lowering costs to its 1.8 million customers for renewable energy charges, a projected $54 million savings. It would also be the 159th coal plant project abandoned in recent years across the United States.
“Michigan can breathe easier knowing that a huge, polluting and unneeded coal plant will not be built,” Clean Water Action Michigan Director Cyndi Roper said. “It appears that Consumers Energy has finally seen the light that customers should not have to pay the huge financial cost of this unneeded plant and our natural resources and our health should not have to pay the heavy cost of pollution this plant would have added to our environment.”
The Lone Tree Council, a Bay City area citizens group that has led the local fight against the plant, said residents are relieved that Consumers has apparently taken this final step in abandoning the plant project.
“This is great news for local residents who would have had to endure the added pollution that would have come with this dirty coal plant,” said Terry Miller, Lone Tree Council President. “We know that for our Great Lakes, our health and our communities that this is the best possible outcome.”
“There is consensus brewing here – Consumers Energy has come to the same conclusion as 158 other companies, that coal just doesn’t make economic sense,” said Shannon Fisk of the Midwest Office of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The $3.5 plus billion that would have gone towards a dirty plant can have a much better impact in Michigan going towards energy efficiency and renewable energy resources that will create jobs, save ratepayers money, and benefit public health.”
According to a 2009 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Michigan can meet its energy needs through a combination of wind power, biomass, and other renewable energy sources coupled with aggressive energy efficiency programs. Among the NRDC’s findings:
- Energy efficiency program alone could save Michigan $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 20 years.
- Michigan’s previous energy plan, written in 2007, is out of date, with unrealistic projections of future electrical demand, limited implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy, and reliance on outdated 20th century coal technologies.
- Clean renewable energy is less expensive, cleaner, faster, more economically robust, and creates more jobs in Michigan than a 20th century plan based on new but obsolete large power plants driven by fossil fuels.