A broad-based coalition of public interest groups and energy activists in Michigan is calling for public hearings addressing the long-range plans of Consumers Energy.

The groups are saying in some ways Consumers is heading in the right direction moving away from burning coal to generate power. But the utility’s plans for continued dependence on natural gas mean less emphasis on cleaner and renewable sources that they believe should be the focal point.

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Consumers released its new long-range power generation plans late last month.
The most notable change is to totally eliminate the use of coal to generate power within just 4 years.  Few public and community activists find fault with that.  They seem to be looking at the continued reliance on natural gas and the resulting carbon emissions.  The group points out that clean renewable energy sources for power generation would fall more in line with their long-term goals. That even includes demanding that Consumers Energy,  “Deliver equitable outcomes to communities disproportionately impacted by pollution.”  That’s one of the five major points of contention the coalition is raising with the Michigan Public Service Commission as it attempts to establish public hearings on the long-term power generation plans of the utility.

Consumers President and CEO Garrick Rochow believe the utility is making great strides toward change: “We are proud to lead Michigan’s clean energy transformation and be one of the first utilities in the country to end coal use. We are committed to being a force of change and good stewards of our environment, producing reliable, affordable energy for our customers while caring for our communities during this transition.”

But clearly, the large coalition looking for more wide-ranging and faster changes isn’t satisfied.

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