Last December Michigan’s Consumers Energy unveiled a plan to build a new, $700 million, natural gas-fired power plant in Genesee County. Now, Consumers Energy has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to issue a “Certificate of Necessity” (CON), which will enable construction of the plant to move forward. If approved, the new plant will create local jobs, spur regional economic development, and help increase Michigan’s energy security.
With timely permitting and approvals, construction on the proposed plant in Thetford Township will break ground in 2014, and the plant will be operational in 2017. The new facility will replace older coal-fired plants—and reduce carbon emissions by about 50 percent.In addition, natural gas—which is abundant in the U.S.—is expected to be one of the most affordable ways to provide Michigan families and businesses with energy for years to come. According to Consumers Energy’s Vice President of Energy Supply Operations Tim Sparks, “This plant will use state-of-the-art technology to help meet the future needs of our 1.8 million electric customers in an environmentally responsible manner. We selected natural gas as the fuel source for this new power plant because we project it will be the most economical way to serve our customers in the future and continue to bring them value.”
Once building is under way, Consumers Energy’s Chief Executive Officer John Russell projects the Thetford plant will “create 600 construction jobs, about 30 operating and support jobs, and ongoing economic benefits for the regional I-75 corridor and Genesee County.” The new plant will support local economic investment and expand the local tax base, benefitting Thetford Township, Genesee County, and the surrounding region.
Consumers Energy still has some hurdles to overcome, including demonstrating to the MPSC that the Thetford plant is the least-cost option available.
Read more about the Thetford project here.