- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Consumers Energy said Thursday that it’s holding off on building a $750 million, 700-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Genesee County and is buying a 540-megawatt plant in Jackson.

The Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. unit first announced plans for the Flint-area plant in December 2012. Construction in Thetford Township was to have started in 2015 and be completed in 2017. It would have provided power to about 445,000 people.

The project was expected to create 30 plant jobs and 600 construction jobs.

“It’s absolutely devastating news to the county,” Genesee County Commission Chairman Jamie Curtis said, according to MLive.com.

“Consumers Energy is holding off on the Thetford project not because there’s any question we need new, more environmentally sustainable energy,” said Consumers Energy Vice President Dennis Dobbs. “Seven of our aging coal-fired plants will close in a couple of years, and we need new sources of power to serve a growing state.

“Instead, we are pursuing another, more affordable way to serve the public’s needs. We intend to buy a natural gas-burning plant in Jackson in early 2016.”

The DPC Juniper LLC plant in Jackson employs about 20 people. Consumers Energy plans to pay $155 million and take ownership in 2016.

The plant’s owners sued the city of Jackson last summer, claiming it was improperly assessed and overtaxed. State tax records show DPC Juniper started withdrawing the lawsuit last week.

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