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Consumers wants to convert coal plant in Manistee as part of plan to replace Palisades power

Mark Savage
Entergy Corporation
Palisades Nuclear Plant (file photo)

A state board wants more information on how Consumers Energy will make up for the nearly 800 megawatts of power that will be lost after the Palisades Nuclear Plant’s planned shut down in 2018.

In documents filed this month, Consumers said it plans to make up for the lost nuclear power with an expanded wind farm in Michigan’s Thumb region, increased energy efficiency, and by purchasing power from within the regional electric grid.

Consumers also wants to convert the 60 MW Filer City coal plant in Manistee to burn natural gas and more than double the power it produces. A spokesman for Consumers Energy said the plans for Filer City are not finalized at this time.

“We are absolutely, unequivocally, not prejudging any of these proposals. We just need to understand them a little bit better,” Michigan Public Service Commissioner Norm Saari said.

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After a hearing Friday, MPSC requested more details about Consumers’ plans.

“In its order today, the MPSC said that because it is seeking additional information from the utility addressing issues related to cost savings, electric reliability and resource adequacy and risk management,” a written statement said.

“We don’t believe there’s anything contentious in what we’re asking for, but we’re just asking for a lot more elaboration,” Sarri said. He says commissioners are trying to protect electric customers in terms of supply and price.

He also says they want a better understanding of how Palisades would close, even though the US Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner has jurisdiction over that aspect.

Consumers and the owner of Palisades, Entergy, announced the plants closure last month in a joint announcement. The plant had a license to operate for at least another decade.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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