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Consumers Energy's New Plan Increases Renewables, Retires Two Coal Plants

Under the IRP, demand response, energy efficiency, and grid modernization tools would take on more significant roles

Consumers Energy will file an Integrated Resource Plan this week with the Michigan Public Service Commission that outlines the path to using zero coal while ensuring affordable and reliable energy for Michigan's families and businesses. The IRP details how the company will meet the state's energy needs with increased use of energy efficiency and other customer demand management programs and significantly more renewable energy.

Under the plan, the company would increase renewable energy from 11 percent today to 37 percent by 2030 and 43 percent by 2040 – helping the company achieve its clean energy breakthrough goal, announced earlier this year, to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent and eliminate the use of coal to generate electricity by 2040. The proposed strategy also includes retiring two aging, coal-fired units at the Karn Generating Complex near Bay City in 2023.

In-depth modeling analysis showed higher levels of energy efficiency and demand management programs and renewable energy are the best and most affordable way to meet customers' needs in the future.

Under the IRP, demand response, energy efficiency, and grid modernization tools would take on more significant roles. These virtual "power plants" will help customers save money on their energy bills and reduce energy demand 22 percent by 2040. Consumers Energy also would add 5,000 megawatts of solar energy throughout the 2020s, along with wind and battery storage.

"Our vision considers people, the planet and the prosperity of our state and the communities we serve. This IRP will help guide key decisions in the coming years to make us a cleaner, leaner company for the Great Lakes State," said Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy and CMS Energy. "This is a pivotal moment in our company's long, proud history — and this plan charts a course for us all to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges of a new era."

Over the last 18 months, Consumers Energy developed the IRP by gathering input from a diverse group of customers and key stakeholders — including a series of public forums — to build a deeper understanding of shared goals. The company then modeled future scenarios using a variety of assumptions about factors such as market prices, energy demand and levels of clean energy resources, including demand response and energy efficiency, wind and solar.

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 our "Classic Seven" units located at the former Whiting, Cobb and Weadock sites.

"We're grateful for the power the Karn coal units have provided for Michigan over the decades and proud of our co-workers who've operated and maintained them so faithfully. The company will be working actively to care for our co-workers through this transition," Poppe said.  "We plan to support Hampton Township and the Bay region as they re-imagine the local economic landscape after these units are retired."

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

 

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