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Consumers Energy looking to buy natural gas plant(s) in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula

Natural gas power plant in California
David Monniaux
Wikimedia Commons
Natural gas power plant in California

Consumers Energy wants to buy a power plant fired by natural gas to help replace the energy produced by the Palisades nuclear plant.

Consumers hopes the state will approve an agreement it has with Entergy, which owns Palisades, to close the nuclear plant near South Haven in 2018. Michigan’s Public Service Commission has until August to make that call.

Consumers says it’ll save customers money by closing Palisades. But it has to figure out how to replace all that energy.

Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler says natural gas could be a big part of the plan.

“The goal is just to see what good, reliable and affordable power plants are out there that could help us with our plans,” Wheeler said.

“We’re asking specifically for plants that are fired by natural gas. At this point we’re not considering building or buying any existing coal burning plants,” Wheeler said.

The plant has to be in located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the company says in the Request for Proposal it published Monday.

The RFP says Consumers is looking to invest in an existing plant or plants that have between 300 and 800 megawatts available. Responses are due in mid-May.

Plans to replace the energy Palisades produces also include investments in renewable energy and conservation efforts. The company is considering converting and expand a coal plant in Manistee.

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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