JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Consumers Energy said Monday it plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero over the next two decades by eliminating coal from its fuel mix and boosting use of renewable power sources.
The announcement by the utility based in Jackson, Michigan, follows the release last year of a plan for providing electricity to about 6.7 million Michigan residents by 2040 while cutting output of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
Consumers hasn’t settled on all the details for slashing carbon output from the power it generates or buys for distribution to customers, said Patti Poppe, president and CEO. But 90% of the savings will come from phasing out coal and helping users boost efficiency and lessen waste, which will avoid the need to build three new power plants, she said.
“We have the know-how and the time to continue innovating and creating to solve this problem,” Poppe said.
While making greater use of wind and solar power, Consumers will continue operating two natural gas-fired plants. To offset those carbon emissions, the utility plans to use measures such as capturing carbon or methane and injecting them underground and large-scale planting of trees, which store carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.
The plan drew praise from environmental groups.
“Climate change affects virtually every aspect of our lives, including our health, economy and the Great Lakes, and a rapid and just transition to clean energy is critical to avoid the worsening impacts of our overheating climate,” said Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network.
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