Michigan governor wants less coal in the state’s future

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Dec. 19 laid out his vision for a “no regrets” energy future by 2025, calling for an emphasis on eliminating energy waste, and replacing coal with newer, cleaner technologies – namely natural gas and renewables.

“Michigan needs an energy policy that ensures we can be adaptable, have energy that is reliable and affordable, and protect our environment,” Snyder said. “We should set a reasonable, achievable, and efficient range of goals for 2025.”

Snyder, a Republican, laid out several key goals for the state’s energy policy.

  • Adaptability – As part of the foundation of adaptability, eliminate energy waste and reduce coal and replace it with newer, cleaner technologies – natural gas and renewables.  
  • Reliability – Michigan should become a leader in reliability in both reducing the average number of outages and their length. Additionally, ensure that our state never experiences massive outages due to lack of supply.
  • Affordability – Michigan residential customers should spend less on their combined energy bills (electric and natural gas) than the national average. In addition, Michigan needs to ensure that energy-intensive industries can choose Michigan for job and investment decisions to better compete.
  • Protection of the Environment – Michigan’s energy generation needs to be part of a healthier future, reducing mercury emissions, pollution that creates acid rain, and particles in the air for the health of Michigan. Snyder called for an increase in the renewable portfolio based on relative cost, reliability and environmental benefits.

The governor’s recommendations come after his Special Message on Energy and the Environment in November last year and after the submission in November 2013 of four energy reports by Michigan Public Service Commission Chairman John Quackenbush and Michigan Energy Office Director Steve Bakkal.

The two big in-state electric utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Electric, are already moving to cut back coal use, with Consumers the most aggressive of the two. Consumers plans to shut seven coal units in early 2016 and to in part replace them with the 700-MW, gas-fired Thetford power project. Several new wind farms are also in the works in 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.