Energy company seeks possible Michigan natural gas plant
An energy company is looking to make up for the potential loss of a nuclear power plant near South Haven and possibly replace the energy production with natural gas.
Consumers Energy is seeking proposals to buy a natural, gas-fired plant. Entergy, which owns the Palisades plant, expects to close it in 2018. The state’s Public Service Commission has until August to approve whether Palisades will close.
The state of Michigan would have to approve the closure and any future plant purchase.
"The goal is just to see what good, reliable and affordable power plants are out there that could help us with our plans," Consumers spokesman Brian Wheeler said.
A Request for Proposal that Consumers published Monday said the plant has to be located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It also said that the company wants to invest in an existing plant or plants that have between 300 and 800 available megawatts. Responses to that request are due mid-May.
The commission will host back-to-back public meetings May 8 to talk about Consumers’ agreement, which the company said will save customers money. The meetings will also include talking about securitization, which is the process by which a utility, following an issued financing order by the commission, replaces high-cost debt and equity with lower-cost debt in the form of securitization bonds.
Consumers said it intends to recover through rates a securitization of the $172 buyout fee due to Entergy.
The commission will inform the public at the meetings about its role, the timeline and the administrative process to be followed in closure of the plant.