Utility picks company to decommission power plants

Consumers Energy has selected engineering and project management company AMEC to decommission three coal-fired power plants in Michigan, the utility announced Thursday.
AP Wire
Feb 14, 2014

The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said AMEC, which has Michigan offices in Novi and Traverse City, will handle the work at seven power-producing units at the plants. AMEC's work includes extensive experience with power plant decommissioning.

Consumers Energy said the selection also is in line with a state program that encourages Michigan companies to do business with each other.

"As part of our commitment to Pure Michigan Business Connect, we're pleased to award this project to a company with an established Michigan presence," Dennis Dobbs, vice president of generation engineering and services for Consumers Energy, said in a statement.

Consumers Energy earlier announced plans to close and demolish the B.C. Cobb plant on Muskegon Lake as well as coal-fired units at its J.R. Whiting facility near Luna Pier in Monroe County and the Karn/Weadock complex near Bay City on the Saginaw Bay.

Consumers Energy plans to shut the units by April 2016.

The units being decommissioned represent about 950 megawatts of electric capacity. Consumers Energy recently announced a plan to purchase a 540 megawatt natural-gas power plant in Jackson to partially offset the planned coal-fired shutdowns.



This will no doubt cause a drastic jump in the electric bills of consumer customers and cost the city of Muskegon and area jobs and supporting revenues for pretty much no reason.


At least the public won't have to put up with this:

Mercury: Coal plants are responsible for more than half of the U.S. human-caused emissions of mercury, a toxic heavy metal that causes brain damage and heart problems. Just 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury deposited on a 25-acre lake can make the fish unsafe to eat. A typical uncontrolled coal plants emits approximately 170 pounds of mercury each year. Activated carbon injection technology can reduce mercury emissions by up to 90 percent when combined with baghouses. ACI technology is currently found on just 8 percent of the U.S. coal fleet.

Other harmful pollutants emitted annually from a typical, uncontrolled coal plant include approximately:

114 pounds of lead, 4 pounds of cadmium, other toxic heavy metals, and trace amounts of uranium. Baghouses can reduce heavy metal emissions by up to 90 percent3.

720 tons of carbon monoxide, which causes headaches and places additional stress on people with heart disease.

220 tons of hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds (VOC), which form ozone.

225 pounds of arsenic, which will cause cancer in one out of 100 people who drink water containing 50 parts per billion.


Any plans to sell Board And Light And Power to Consumers ?

Former Grandhavenite

That would be a very bad idea IMO. Consumers Power is just a miserable company to have any form of interaction with in my experience. When they control most of the electric service in Michigan the consumers have no power, so to speak.

When I moved out of the area, Consumers decided to send me a bill for just under $2 after I thought I'd already paid my final bill. It never got forwarded to my new address, they never tried to contact me in any way despite having my phone number and email address, and I only found out about it years later when I checked my credit report and saw that it was reported as bad debt. All of this was apparently considered necessary by the geniuses in Jackson over less than $2.

The BLP is more accountable by virtue of city control and the focus is on reliability rather than profit. In every place I've lived with municipal utilities the service has been good and the prices reasonable. The monopolists at my current giant energy company are among the worst in the country reliability-wise, and they don't really bother with tree trimming or burying the lines to limit the number of outages because that would cut into stockholder dividends. They have the state public utility commission in their pocket to the point that every proposal to increase rates is rubber stamped without any guarantee of improved reliability.


Oh boy... Just be glad these are not dams... AMEC has a tainted history pulling down hydro dams... They REALLY screwed up removing the Brown Bridge Dam on the Boardman river; they cut corners and did not shore up some steel properly and ended up emptying Brown Bridge Pond in a couple hours, rather than the month it was supposed to take to drain. Ended up destroying a blue-ribbon trout stream, replacing the rocky bottom with massive sand bars and toxic sludge, as well as doing serious damage to many houses downstream.

Then, to top it all off, they deny responsibility, refuse to compensate the land owners for damage, and then bribe the authorities to brush it under the rug.

The worst part? There are still two more large hydro dams on the Boardman River coming down. They should have been gone by now, but AMEC is currently held up in lawsuits over the first dam failure.


There were a LOT of shady dealings between AMEC and Traverse City as well as with the DNR and EPA. A power company wanted to buy the dams from the TC BLP and fully restore them and use them, but since a few of the TC officials were kayakers, they shoved the removal project through anyways. I love TC, but they have a lot of history going against the public good and wants; just look at their massive sewage plant failure, the Clinch Park steam train, the splash pad that was shooting raw sewage all over kids thanks to no oversight, and forged permits, and the new decorative stream in Clinch Park that somehow was magically supposed to flow uphill due to crappy engineering (and city council approval).

Former Grandhavenite

Awesome! Any time a coal-fired plant can be decommissioned and replaced with something cleaner it's a step in the right direction. In the immortal words of Elmer Fudd, "Good widdance to bad wubbish!"

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.