US utility Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS), plans to cease the use of coal as a fuel source for electricity generation by 2025 and to build almost 8 GW of solar plants by 2040.
The updated plan, which is pending regulatory approval, means that Consumers Energy will be coal-free 15 years faster than currently expected. The proposal calls for the early retirement of the Campbell 1 and 2 units, totalling more than 600 MW, and the 840-MW Campbell 3 unit.
Also, Consumers Energy seeks to move up to 2023 the shut down of the Karn 3 and 4 units that run on natural gas and fuel oil. Their combined capacity surpasses 1,100 MW.
By 2040, the utility hopes for renewables such as solar and wind to account for over 60% of its electric capacity. Moreover, it expects that advances in energy storage and customer efficiency will allow the company to meet customers' needs with 90% clean energy resources by that year.
Consumers Energy said that it also proposed to buy four existing natural gas-fired power plants in Michigan in order to ensure continued energy supply for the state and the Midwest. These are: Covert Generating Station in Van Buren County; Dearborn Industrial Generation in Wayne County; Kalamazoo River Generating Station in Kalamazoo County; and Livingston Generating Station in Otsego County. The transactions have to be approved by regulators.
According to the company, the use of natural gas as a fuel source to generate baseload power will save customers some USD 650 million (EUR 545m) through 2040 compared to its current plan.
(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.838)
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