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Coal plant shutdowns are beginning of end of an era

Detroit Edison plant

Consumers Energy in April closed seven of its coal-burning units.

DTE Energy plans to shut eight of its coal-burning units by the year 2023.

Mark Barteau is Director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute.  He says eventually, coal is going away because natural gas, wind and solar are more cost-effective - as well as being better for public health and the planet.

"I don't think we are going to see any more coal plants built," he says.  "What you have to realize  is the units that both DTE and Consumers have been shutting down are older and smaller.  So the things remaining like DTE Monroe plant are newer and larger. Long range, I guess the answer's yes,  the question is, are we talking 15-20 years or more."

Barteau says the federal Clean Power Plan, although it's currently in legal limbo, is influencing what's going on in Michigan.  The plan aims to reduce each state's carbon emissions by around 30%.

You can hear more in today's Environment Report above.

(Subscribe to The Environment Report podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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