Consumers Energy cancels clean coal power plant project

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), said on Dec. 2 that the company has canceled plans for a proposed clean coal plant project near Bay City, Mich., and an update of its air quality control plans, which include the anticipated suspension of operation of seven smaller units in 2015.

The utility said it also plans to continue to make environmental investments of $1.6 billion at its five major coal-fired units. The environmental program and the anticipated suspension of operations at the seven smaller units are projected to reduce the utility's power plant emissions by 90 percent.

The utility said it was cancelling the new clean coal plant project because of the same market factors that led it to defer development of the project in May 2010. Those primarily are reduced customer demand for electricity due to the recession and slow economic recovery, surplus generating capacity in the Midwest market, and lower natural gas prices linked to expanded shale gas supplies. The company said its plans are in response to existing and pending federal and state environmental regulations and ongoing market conditions. The company doesn't plan to make any significant environmental investments in its seven smaller coal-fired units.

The units are: three at the 328 MW J.R. Whiting Generating Complex, two at the 320 MW B.C. Cobb Generating Plant, and two at the 2,101 MW Karn/Weadock Generating Complex.

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