- Consumers Energy will eliminate its use of coal-fired electricity and reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2040, the Michigan-based utility announced yesterday.
- The Michigan utility, owned by CMS Energy, also revealed five-year environmental goals including saving 1 billion gallons of water and reducing waste to landfills by 35%.
- Consumers also said that by 2040, more than 40% of its energy will come from renewable energy and storage. A specific plan to meet these goals will be released later this year when the utility files its integrated resource plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Consumer Energy's proposal would build on significant past efforts, which included closing seven of its 12 coal-fired plants in 2016.The coal plant closures two years ago resulted in a 38% drop in carbon intensity.
Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers and its parent company, said the plan addresses climate change issues.
"We believe it is incredibly important that we step up to the plate and take the appropriate actions to be on the right side of history on a critical issue like climate change," she said in a statement.
The nuts and bolts of Consumers' strategy are still being worked out. The utility's statement said it is embracing a "cleaner, leaner vision" focused on reducing energy usage and adding solar and wind resources, and will reveal details of its strategy in its upcoming IRP. Even so, the utility has come out against a proposed ballot initiative that would require them to produce 30% of their energy from renewable energy by 2030.
Last year, Consumers announced in a Large Customer Renewable Energy Tariff program for large companies, and the utility is making investments to make its natural gas system more efficient. The utility also operates two wind farms, the Lake Winds and Cross Winds energy parks, in addition to two utility-scale solar projects at Western Michigan and Grand Valley State universities.
DTE Energy, the state's other large investor-owned utility, has already made similar commitments. Last year, the utility reiterated its plan to cut carbon emissions 80% from 2005 levels by 2050, and said it plans to eliminate coal from its fuel mix by 2040.