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MSU's power plant to stop burning coal

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan State University will no longer use coal to power its campus after 2016. 

That's according to an announcement today by MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. 

The elimination of all coal use "is a strategy that we believe will give us the redundancy, give us reliability, give us low cost, and also make us much more green," said Simon. "We believe we can do that without imposing additional costs on the campus. In fact, we believe that we can do that and potentially save some costs."

Wolfgang Bauer, MSU professor and senior consultant to MSU's executive vice-president for administrative services, said stepping back from coal is a tremendously important move in meeting the goal of improving the environment.

"We're reducing our carbon footprint by approximately 50,000 metric tons of CO2 each year." said Bauer. "That's 100 million pounds per year," noting that is equivalent to about 2,000 pounds per MSU student on campus.

Simon said the university has been steadily cutting its coal use since 2009 and expects the majority of coal purchasing and burning to end this year. 

The campus power plant will run entirely on natural gas when the transition is complete at the end of 2016.

MSU announced it is working with CustomerFirstRenewables to seek out large scale, economical, renewable energy options for the university.  It has also signed an agreement with Consumers Energy to build a sub-station to power the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, when it is complete.