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Consumers Energy will dramatically increase solar energy by 2040

Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy plans to dramatically increase its use of solar energy by the year 2040.

It's a big part of the utility's first long-term energy plan, required by Michigan's new energy law.

CEO Patti Poppe says solar is clean energy, and the cost of providing it is likely to come down by 35% by 2040.

And she says solar is one of the best options for providing electricity at times of peak demand.

"Solar is available when Michigan needs it," she said during a press call to discuss details of the plan.  "When Michigan needs the most power is on our hot summer days."

The plan calls for closing the utility's two coal burning units near Bay City by 2023 (the utility already shut down seven of its oldest coal-burning units in 2016). The last coal-burning unit will shut down by 2040.

The utility will keep its two natural gas plants in operation after 2040, and expand efficiency programs and time of day rate incentives to reduce energy demand.

DTE Energy will file its long-term plan next year.

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy have both commited to reducing their carbon emissions by 80% from 2005 levels, Consumers by the year 2040 and DTE Energy by the year 2050.

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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