Consumers Energy plans to stop using coal, increase renewable energy

"By 2040, we're going to stop burning coal here in MI to generate electricity, we're also going to reduce our carbon footprint by 80 percent", said Consumers Energy Spokesman Brian Wheeler. Consumers Energy says that's because renewable sources are less expensive than burning fossil fuels.

Wheeler says that means building up infrastructure to generate electricity using renewable energy like wind, solar and hydro-power, along with taking coal plants off-line.

"In the past, people believed that we had to choose between affordable and clean energy", Poppe said. "We don't subscribe to that 'sucker's choice.' Our commitment is to achieve our goal and keep our prices affordable".

"Moving away from these dirty forms of energy and towards cleaner renewable energy is really going to help change that trajectory of public health and clean up the air here in Michigan", said Charlotte Jameson, member of the Michigan Environmental Council. The Paris Climate agreement calls for nations to scale back their emissions by 2020, and then reevaluate their emission goals every five years. According to a Consumers release, the company has reduced its carbon intensity, water usage and landfill usage substantially.

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"In other words we will find out how serious Consumers is when they submit their Integrated Resource Plan", said Freeman. Poppe also said they want to make sure they don't leave empty plants behind.

"We're not gonna leave hulking examples of old plants that are no longer in operation", she said.

After that happens they'll have a better idea of what coal plants are closing and where future investment will take place.

Consumers CEO Patti Poppe says more renewables is what the company's customers want - and now they're cheaper than ever.

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