MICHIGAN – Consumers Energy should not saddle its customers with more gas infrastructure, especially in the wake of a report of a pipeline explosion in north Livingston County, advocacy organizations have argued as state regulators weigh the utility’s proposed 15-year energy plan.
Consumers Energy proposed a 15-year energy plan that will eliminate the utility’s use of coal by 2025 by spending $1.4 billion to invest in additional gas. Advocacy organizations have argued the utility has an opportunity to switch to clean renewable energy to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Recent recommendations to the Michigan Public Service Commission by Administrative Law Judge Sally Wallace boosted the chances of that happening.
Wallace weighed testimony from experts and the public to provide her official recommendations to the Commission, which has the final determination on Consumers’ energy plan. Advocates cited Wallace’s guidance along with the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as clear evidence of the need to drop coal and methane gas and move to solar and wind.
“The advice from Judge Wallace shows Michiganders are making a difference as we call on the Public Service Commission to move our state toward clean renewable energy sooner rather than later. We need to keep the momentum going,” said Deirdre Courtney of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC). “The recommendations to close most of the coal-fired plants is in line with our goal to help save lives and protect public health and echo this year’s IPCC report which calls for utilities to stop burning coal and methane gas. We need to keep pushing the Commissioners when it comes to Consumers Energy’s 15-year plan to make sure the utility is using our money to move to clean, affordable wind, solar, and storage much sooner.”
"The administrative law judge's recommendations affirm the need to move toward clean, affordable renewable energy and walk away from polluting fossil gas and coal," said Jenna Warmuth, Midwest regional director of Vote Solar. “However, she left many tools on the table and we urge the Michigan Public Service Commission to act in a way that ensures equitable energy access for Michigan's low-income communities and communities of color, who we know already bear disproportionately high energy burdens and health impacts from the use of fossil fuels for energy production.”
“To protect our water, clean up the air we breathe and ensure a healthier future for all Michiganders, the Michigan Public Service Commission should ensure Consumers Energy lives up to its pledge to go coal free,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “We agree with the preliminary ruling that Consumers Energy shouldn’t be allowed to swap its outdated coal plants with volatile and expensive natural gas - saddling consumers with $1.4 billion in extra costs - and we implore the commission to direct Consumers Energy to close their JH Campbell unit 3 coal plant on Lake Michigan by 2025.”
"The Michigan Public Service Commission has an important responsibility to ensure our utilities move to wind and solar power with great urgency,” said Grand Rapids Second Ward City Commissioner Milinda Ysasi. “The scientific, economic and public health data is clear that moving to more renewable sources of energy will create healthier communities. During my term on city commission, I have heard from numerous constituents here in Grand Rapids about their concerns regarding the impacts of burning coal and methane gas. I encourage community members to continue to weigh in as the commission makes a determination regarding Consumers Energy 15-year plan.”
The Michigan Clean Consumers Energy coalition advocates for clean energy in legislative and regulatory arenas at the state level, where most decisions about electricity are made. The MI Future, MI Power campaign enables Michiganders to send comments about the Consumers Energy 15-year energy plan to the Michigan Public Service Commission through the group’s website at www.bit.ly/MIFutureMIPower.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 17, 2022
Contacts: Stephanie Cepak, Byrum & Fisk Advocacy Communications, email@example.com
Kim Hunter, 313-287-2992, firstname.lastname@example.org
Advisor to Michigan Public Service Commissioners endorses several critical climate justice goals as state weighs Consumers Energy’s request for more gas infrastructure