Michigan’s Largest Utility to Stop Burning Coal By 2040

Michigan’s largest utility, Consumers Energy, has announced it will stop burning coal by 2040 in an effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, according to the Associated Press. The company, which services 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents, plans to get 40 percent of its energy from solar and wind power by then, with the rest coming from natural gas and hydropower.

“We believe that climate change is real and we can do our part by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we also believe it doesn’t have to cost more to do it,” the utility’s president and CEO, Patti Poppe, told the AP. “We believe we’re going to be on the right side of history on this issue.”

Consumers Energy has been moving away from coal for several years. It closed seven of its 12 coal-fired power plants in 2016, a move that lowered its greenhouse gas emissions 38 percent below 2008 levels. The latest 2040 goal will reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 80 percent, Poppe said. The company currently owns two wind farms and purchases power from a third. It also co-owns a hydroelectric plant on Lake Michigan with the state’s other major utility, DTE Energy Co.