Consumers Buys Zeeland Power Plant

January 24, 2008
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ZEELAND — Consumers Energy has closed on the purchase of a 946 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant to “help meet the growing power needs of its customers.”

According to a news release, the utility purchased the Zeeland plant from LS Power Group for about $517 million. The sale closing came after the Michigan Public Service Commission approved the acquisition last month.

Consumers Energy's president and chief operating officer, John Russell, said the power plant purchase is a key part of the utility's Balanced Energy Initiative, a comprehensive, 20-year plan to meet the needs of its 1.8 million electric customers.

"The typical residential customer is using 8 percent more electricity than a decade ago, and customer peak demand hit record levels four months (in 2007). We need to meet that growing customer demand for power with a balanced energy strategy," Russell said.

"It is part of our plan to invest $6 billion in Michigan's energy resources and infrastructure over the next five years, primarily to implement the Balanced Energy Initiative and its aggressive targets for energy efficiency, demand management and renewable energy."

The purchase of the Zeeland plant will help Consumers Energy meet intermediate and peak demand needs, but Michigan still needs to build new baseload generating plants to serve rising customer demand in 2015 and beyond, Russell said, adding the state's electric deregulation law must be repealed or significantly reformed for those plants to be built.

A package of legislation to update the state's energy policy was introduced in December in the Michigan House of Representatives.

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