Utility plans to demolish 3 coal-fired plants

Consumers Energy delay retiring coal-fired power units Michigan Cobb J.R. Whiting Karn-Weadock

Consumers Energy has asked the state to approve a bond issue that will allow it to close and demolish three coal-fired power plants in Michigan, according to the Associated Press.

The request to the Michigan Public Service Commission would allow it to close and demolish the B.C. Cobb plant on Muskegon Lake beginning in April 2016. The request comes amid stricter federal regulations.

The unit of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. said the same closure and demolition plans are being made for coal-fired units at Consumers Energy’s J.R. Whiting near Luna Pier in Monroe County and J.C. Weadock near Bay City on the Saginaw Bay.

Plans will move forward if the $454 million bond issue gets approval, said company spokesman Dan Bishop.

The specific closure and demolition for the plants were disclosed Monday in company filings with the MPSC in the bond case before state regulators. Consumers Energy officials said they expect a MPSC decision on the bond issue before the end of the year.

“With the MPSC approval and the approval of the company’s board of directors, we are willing to retire and demolish the facilities in April 2016,” according to Dennis Marvin, who handles new generation electrical communications for the company.

Consumers Energy officials have said the company won’t invest new environmental technology into its aging coal plants during a time that electrical use in Michigan has stabilized and the company is preparing to build a new natural gas-fired plant in Genesee County.

Consumers Energy previously said it planned suspension of operations at the facilities in the first quarter of 2016. That announcement was made in September on the same day that federal officials announced details of proposed regulations for new coal-fired plants.

A suspension of operations would have allowed the plant to be brought back online in the future.

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