Michigan utility promises to give up coal in order to be ‘on the right side of history’




One of Michigan’s largest public utilities — which provides power for more than 60 percent of the state’s residents — has promised to stop burning coal completely by 2040 in an effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Consumers Energy president and CEO told the Associated Press that the utility accepts the consensus science on climate change, and hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2040 in an effort to “be on the right side of history on this issue.”

To achieve such deep emissions reductions, the utility plans to completely phase out coal and generate 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources like wind and solar.

In 2016, Consumers Energy shuttered seven of its 12 coal-fired power plants, which reduced its emissions 38 percent compared to 2008 levels, according to the utility. The utility currently gets 24 percent of its energy from coal and 10 percent of its energy from renewable sources.

“We believe that climate change is real and we can do our part by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we also believe it doesn’t have to cost more to do it,” Consumers Energy president and CEO Patti Poppe said, adding that coal has become less cost competitive as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall.

According to a recent cost analysis from the financial firm Lazard Ltd., it is currently cheaper to build and operate renewable energy projects than... Read the rest of the story on ThinkProgress.org HERE