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Seven Michigan coal plants to be retired

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World Coal,

Michigan’s largest utility company, Consumers Energy, has announced it is to close its seven oldest coal-fired power plants – collectively known as the Classic Seven. The plants have a combined generating capacity of 1000 MW.

The plants to be closed include unites 4 and 5 at the B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon, units 7 and 8 at the J.C. Weadock plant in Hampton Township and units 1, 2 and 3 at the J.R. Whiting plant in Luna Pier.

“There plants have a long track record of running safely, productively and efficiently,” said Conumers’ Senior Vice President of Energy Resources, Dan Malone. “In fact, Whting’s unit 3 recently set a company record by operating continuously for 679 consecutive days, the sixth longest run for a US power plant.”

The company recently purchased the Jackson gas-fired power plant to replace the power from the Classic Seven, as well as continuing to invest in renewables generation.

“Shutting down the Classic Seven plants reduces our carbon footprint by 25%, reduces our air emissions by 40% and results in a water use reduction of 40%,” said Malone. “In addition to adding the Jackson plant, we’re exceeding the state’s requirements for adding Michigan-based renewables energy to serve customers.”

The company said it was working to place workers from the seven plants at other Consumer Energy sites. Consumer Energy supplies natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million Michigan residents and is the principle subsidiary of NYSE-listed CMS Energy.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, coal-fired power plants made up more than 80% of the 18 GW of capacity retired in the US last year. Overall, about 4.6% of US coal capacity was retired in 2015 with nearly half of this total located in just three states: Ohio, where 18% of the state’s coal capacity was retired last year, Georgia and Kentucky.

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