Consumers Energy successfully helped Michigan State University on its transition from coal to natural gas as the energy source for its main campus power plant.
"Michigan is at a historic time, making the transition from coal to cleaner forms of energy. We are pleased to play a role in Michigan State University's transition, providing the natural gas that will fuel the T.B. Simon Power Plant," said Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy's vice president and chief customer officer.
"We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our friends at MSU to help them 'Go Green,' meeting the needs of their campus and academic community sustainably."
MSU President Lou Anna Simon said the university will fuel the Simon power plant with natural gas. Consumers Energy is playing an important role in the transition, upgrading its natural gas system to ensure the plant has a reliable fuel supply.
Consumers Energy has been taking other steps to meet MSU's long-term energy needs:
· Building the new Spartan Substation that will provide backup power to the campus when it goes into service later this year. It ultimately will power the university's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, which is under construction.
· Through its energy efficiency programs, Consumers Energy has provided MSU with rebates worth over $1 million toward projects that reduce energy use.
· MSU and Consumers Energy are working together on a two-year pilot program to explore how storage batteries can be used to improve system reliability.
"Consumers Energy's relationship with Michigan State University represents the type of collaboration we do every day with businesses large and small across Michigan," Rochow said. "We also share an interest in finding new solutions to our state's energy needs, to develop new energy sources and help people use power more efficiently."
Consumers Energy this week also is retiring its seven oldest coal plants, reducing the company's carbon footprint by 25 percent and air emissions by 40 percent. The seven plants are among 25 that are closing in Michigan by 2020, underscoring the need for a new state energy policy to ensure that Michigan can meet its future energy needs.
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal unit of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.