Due to old age and tighter environmental regulations, 25 coal units at Michigan power plants are scheduled to shut down by 2020.
According to a report from The Detroit Free Press, the state is expected to make up the lost capacity by importing power from its regional grid and through greater natural gas power generation and more renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels. Gov. Rick Snyder also has pushed for increased energy efficiency.
The planned coal unit retirements predate the Obama administration's August unveiling of the first-ever nationwide regulations for carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Under the Clean Power Plan, Michigan must reduce its carbon emissions rate 39% by 2030 from its 2012 level. Michigan is already on track for a 17% reduction by 2020, according to EPA data.
Nine of those units are owned by Consumers Energy or DTE Energy; the rest belong to either publicly owned power entities or private companies, the report said.
Consumers Energy will make up about half of lost capacity through its purchase of what was a privately owned natural gas-fired power plant in Jackson, the former DPC Juniper plant. The remaining gap will be filled through short-term contracts to buy out-of-state electricity on the regional grid. Consumers Energy also plans to invest about $2 billion in upgrades to its five newer coal plants to ensure future compliance with the new carbon federal regulations.
DTE is replacing some of that lost coal capacity with natural gas plants it purchased in Carson City and East China Township, according to the report.