The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved an air permit for Consumers Energy's planned natural gas-fired power plant. Located in Michigan's Thetford Township, the 700-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle project has an estimated cost of $750 million, Reuters reported.
This approval is the next major step in the company's progress toward building the natural gas plant. The project is currently awaiting approval
of a certificate of necessity filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).
If approvals progress as anticipated, Consumers Energy estimates construction will begin in 2014 and begin commercial operations by 2017. Its 700 MW of output is expected to produce enough energy for approximately 445,000 homes.
It is estimated the new Michigan project will also create up to 600 construction jobs during construction and 30 full-time positions once the plant is operational.
Consumers Energy is further working to increase Michigan employment through gas pipelines projects, MLive reported. It intends to hire roughly 300 people this year to build and replace pipelines as part of a statewide infrastructure investment.
"These ongoing investments will improve our system's reliability and help our communities grow by putting Michigan residents to work," Michele Kirkland, vice president of energy operations at the company, said in a statement.