In Michigan
5:42 am
Thu May 27, 2010

Dillon says MI will eventually need more big power plants

LANSING, MI –

State House Speaker Andy Dillon says Michigan's two-year-old energy law is working as planned. He says the utility Consumers Energy's decision to mothball plans to build a state-of-the-art coal plant on the Saginaw Bay is proof of that. As Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta reports, Dillon was an architect of that law.

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The law says utilities that invest in large-scale power plants are guaranteed they won't lose too many customers to competitors. It also says power companies have to prove there's enough demand for electricity before going ahead with a new plant.

House Speaker Andy Dillon says Consumers Energy's decision was based on a drop in customer demand, and that shows the law is doing what it's supposed to do. But he also says Michigan will need one or more major new power plants in coming years, not necessarily coal-fired.

"We didn't legislate a preference for any of the main baseload types, whether it be nuclear, coal, or natural gas," he says.

Environmental groups say they're pleased Michigan won't play host to another coal plant in the near future, and they hope future plans by utilities will turn to renewable, emissions-free energy sources.