By Peter Payette, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI – A report by a state agency says there will be no new demand for electricity in Michigan until 2022.
The Michigan Public Service Commission says proposed new coal plants by Consumers Energy and Wolverine Power are unnecessary and unjustified.
But their report also says Consumer's plant near Bay City might be needed if the utility first closes one of its old coal-fired plants.
Consumers' spokesman Dan Bishop says their analysis shows a slight increase in demand beginning next year. And their plan is to bring the new plant online before shutting down an old one.
"And the logic behind that is that these older units are providing electricity to our customers right now," he says. "And if they were taken off-line prematurely that would expose our 1.8 million customers to higher prices on the wholesale market."
A report from an environmental group says Michigan's electricity demand can be met with more aggressive energy efficiency and renewable sources such as wind and biomass.
The Department of Environmental Quality will now decide whether to issue permits for the proposed new coal plants.