Consumers Energy applies to build gas plant in Michigan

Consumers Energy has taken the next step for its proposed 700 MW natural gas plant in Genesee County, Michigan, filing July 15 for approval of a certificate of necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

According to Consumers Energy, the gas plant would cost about $750 million and create about 630 jobs, including construction and support jobs.

The certificate of necessity filing, allowed for under Michigan's energy reform law, provides Consumers Energy's comprehensive analysis for the 700 MW natural gas plant planned for Thetford Township, about 20 miles northeast of Flint. The review process for the filing is expected to take nine months.

The power plant will use combined cycle technology to generate electric power.

Consumers Energy recently suspended commercial operations at seven aging coal-fired power plants, each with a power generation capacity of 950 MW. Officials with Consumers Energy said the Genesee County plant will replace some of this lost capacity with cleaner-burning and more efficient natural-gas fired power.

The current project schedule calls for construction to begin in 2014 and for the new combined cycle power plant to begin serving Consumers Energy's electric customers in 2017.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the main unit of CMS Energy, providing electricity to 6.6 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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