Consumers, DTE making $800m in upgrades at Ludington

The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant in Michigan is undergoing an $800m upgrade, which includes the replacement of its six turbines with more efficient models.

The six-year project will increase the plant’s generating capacity by 15% and its efficiency by 5%. Once the overhaul is complete, the plant will be able to produce enough electricity to power a community of 1.65 million, up from 1.4 million currently, said plant co-owner Consumers Energy in a July 19 statement marking the 40th anniversary of the hydro plant.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Sen. Goeff Hansen and Rep. Ray Franz signed a special tribute in to commemorate the plant’s 40th anniversary. Rep. Franz personally delivered the tribute to the plant on July 19 where utility employees and their families celebrated with a tour of the facilities.

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga made a floor statement that was printed in the Congressional Record recently, congratulating employees on the accomplishment at the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant.

“We are deeply honored to receive this recognition for Ludington Pumped Storage from legislators in Lansing and Washington,” said William Schoenlein, manager of hydro and renewable generation and plant manager of Ludington Pumped Storage.

The Ludington Pumped Storage Plant is co-owned by Consumers Energy (51%) and DTE Electric (49%), and operated by Consumers Energy. It pumps water during the night uphill 363 feet to its 27 billion-gallon reservoir. During the day, at times of peak customer electric demand, the water is released through turbines to generate electricity.

A fact sheet on the Consumers website said that the Ludington plant, which uses Lake Michigan as its lower reservoir, was built from 1969-1973 at a cost of $327m. The plant can produce 1,872 MW. The company has said the new, upgraded capacity would be 2,172 MW.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

DTE Electric (formerly known as Detroit Edison), a subsidiary of DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), is an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.