Michigan Rejects Biomass Plant Closure Request

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) recently rejected requests by Consumers Energy to end contracts and close two wood-fired biomass power plants in Cadillac and Lincoln, Mich. The company was looking to close the plants at the end of May 2024, while the contracts were set to expire in 2027 and 2028. Consumers Energy was seeking to replace the plants with two solar projects, claiming the two biomass plants were too expensive for consumers and unprofitable.
The MPSC found that canceling the contracts early didn’t consider the state’s broader electricity capacity needs and posed a potential risk during periods of high demand or low supply. Also, regulators claimed cost savings for ratepayers may have been overestimated. Cadillac Renewable Energy is a 38 MW plant, while National Energy of Lincoln produces 18 MW.
Timber industry officials in the region have long supported the plants as sources of renewable electricity and for providing key markets for forest residuals. Justin Knepper, executive director of the loggers group Michigan Assn. of Timbermen, welcomed the MPSC’s decision.
“The loss of our biomass power stations will result in an increased reliance on volatile and unpredictable energy resources,” Knepper said. “Members of the Michigan Association of Timbermen work hard each and every day to ensure that our biomass power stations are supplied with sustainably harvested wood residuals that provide clean, renewable energy.”

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