Utility shelves plan to build $750 million plant

Consumers Energy said Thursday that it's holding off on building a $750 million, 700-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Genesee County and is buying a 540-megawatt plant in Jackson.
AP Wire
Jan 31, 2014

The Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. unit first announced plans for the Flint-area plant in December 2012. Construction in Thetford Township was to have started in 2015 and be completed in 2017. It would have provided power to about 445,000 people.

The project was expected to create 30 plant jobs and 600 construction jobs.

"It's absolutely devastating news to the county," Genesee County Commission Chairman Jamie Curtis said.

"Consumers Energy is holding off on the Thetford project not because there's any question we need new, more environmentally sustainable energy," said Consumers Energy Vice President Dennis Dobbs. "Seven of our aging coal-fired plants will close in a couple of years, and we need new sources of power to serve a growing state. Instead, we are pursuing another, more affordable way to serve the public's needs. We intend to buy a natural gas-burning plant in Jackson in early 2016."

The DPC Juniper LLC plant in Jackson employs about 20 people. Consumers Energy plans to pay $155 million and take ownership in 2016.

The plant's owners sued the city of Jackson last summer, claiming it was improperly assessed and overtaxed. State tax records show DPC Juniper started withdrawing the lawsuit last week.


Former Grandhavenite

Natural gas seems like a reasonable way to address the need for cheap power generation while also being a good bit cleaner than a lot of the alternatives. It's not as clean as a true renewable source like solar, but it has a lot of the flexibility and the low cost of coal without being anywhere near as dirty. I disagree with a lot of my fellow environmentalists in that I'm a fan of nuclear power and at least a moderate supporter of natural gas, particularly when the alternative choice a lot of the time is coal.

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