Consumers Energy Shuts Down Seven Coal Plants

As it promised last May, Michigan-based Consumers Energy is shuttering seven of its oldest coal-fired plants, which make up more than two-thirds of its coal fleet.

Consumers Energy made the decision last year in response to changing environmental regulations and market conditions that made it uneconomic to continue operating the plants.

The seven units, all in Michigan, are at B.C. Cobb in Muskegon (two units, 320 MW), D.E. Karn-J.C Weadock in Essexville (two units, 310 MW), and J.R. Whiting in Erie (three units, 328 MW). The closure will leave Consumers with five coal-fired units still operating: three at the 1,450-MW J.H. Campbell plant in Port Sheldon and two (511 MW total) at Karn-Weadock. Those plants are receiving emissions control upgrades to continue operating.

“We honor the men and women that have worked at our Classic Seven coal plants, which have powered Michigan’s industrial growth, kept the lights on in our homes, and made amazing human and business contributions to their host communities,” said Dan Malone, senior vice president of energy resources for Consumers Energy.

Consumers said in a statement that it is continuing an “aggressive” transition to renewable energy, but the loss of the plants leaves Michigan with a thinner surplus of dispatchable power.

—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine).