Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider and the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, has announced plans to stop using coal to generate electricity by 2040, generate more than 40% of its energy from renewable sources and energy storage by 2040, and reduce carbon emissions by 80%.
Consumers Energy says it is focused primarily on reducing energy usage and adding additional renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. The strategic roadmap for reaching its clean energy goal by 2040 will be published later this year when the company files its integrated resource plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission.
“Our actions speak louder than words, and we have a track record of doing more than is required,” says Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy and CMS Energy. “Our actions to date have reduced our carbon intensity by 38 percent, reduced our water usage by 35 percent and avoided over one million cubic yards of landfill disposal. We are still not satisfied. The goals announced today represent our further commitment to leave Michigan far better than we found it – because we live here, too.”
The company has also announced new five-year environmental goals for Michigan water, waste and land, including saving 1 billion gallons of water; reducing waste to landfills by 35%; and enhancing, restoring or protecting 5,000 acres of land in Michigan.
The company notes it began moving away from coal by closing seven of its 12 coal-fired generating plants in 2016 – more than any investor-owned utility that year – resulting in a 38% carbon-intensity reduction from 2008 levels.
Last year, Consumers Energy also announced a Large Customer Renewable Energy Tariff program, which allows large companies to elect to generate 100% of their energy with renewable sources from Consumers Energy.
The company currently owns and operates two wind farms – the Lake Winds and Cross Winds energy parks – and operates two utility-scale solar projects at Western Michigan and Grand Valley State universities. In addition, the company uses energy from the Apple Blossom wind park and co-owns the Ludington Clean Pumped Storage facility, a hydroelectric plant on Lake Michigan.
Consumers Energy says it is also investing in modernizing its natural gas infrastructure across the state.
“We’re proud and uniquely qualified to provide the strong leadership needed to protect our planet and our home state for decades to come,” adds Poppe.