Consumers Energy hopes to buy nuclear plant and produce natural gas

SOUTH HAVEN, MICH. (AP) - An energy company is looking to buy a nuclear power plant near South Haven and potentially replace the energy production with natural gas.

Consumers Energy hopes the state of Michigan approves an agreement it has with Entergy, which owns the Palisades plant, to close it in 2018. The state’s Public Service Commission has until August to come to a decision.

“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.

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© 2017 Associated Press


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