JACKSON, Mich., May 9, 2022 – Consumers Energy today announced it wants to work with landowners and communities to identify locations for utility-scale solar power plants that will provide clean, renewable electricity to Michigan for decades to come.
Solar is the centerpiece of the company’s Clean Energy Plan to meet Michigan’s energy needs over the next 20 years while protecting the environment by eliminating coal and achieving net zero carbon emissions.
That’s why, with regulatory approval, Consumers Energy plans a massive expansion to add 8,000 megawatts of utility-scale solar energy by 2040, when more than 60 percent of its electric capacity will come from renewable sources. Consumers Energy is searching for tens of thousands of acres throughout Michigan.
“We need support throughout Michigan, especially in rural and agricultural areas, and we want to work with landowners and local leaders interested in siting solar power plants to deliver environmental and economic benefits for their communities,” said Dennis Dobbs, vice president of Enterprise Project Management and Environmental Services. “Harnessing the sun is Michigan’s moonshot — and we won’t achieve this historic goal without help.”
Consumers Energy has already begun adding 1,100 megawatts of solar capacity to come online by 2024. It plans to own 50 percent of this additional solar capacity and purchase the remaining half from solar developers.
Utility-scale solar projects capable of generating about 100 megawatts provide the best value for customers. They also require significant amounts of land — between five and 10 acres per megawatt of electricity — that’s flat, open and treeless with direct access to the sun and proximity to existing transmission infrastructure.
Ideal project sites for solar power plants are about 500 to 900 acres and are often comprised of multiple, neighboring landowners. Potential locations include:
o Farm fields — including those less ideal for growing crops
o Brownfield sites
o Publicly owned properties
With solar leading the way, the company’s proposed Clean Energy Plan, would reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than 63 million tons. That’s the equivalent of removing 12.4 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
In addition to its environmental benefits, solar is increasingly cost competitive and Consumers Energy can add it gradually to meet Michigan’s changing energy needs without building a large, new fossil fuel power plant.
Siting solar power plants provides economic benefits for landowners and communities.
• Participating landowners may sell us their property or create an ongoing revenue source by entering into long-term easement agreements.
• Solar power plants create hundreds of construction jobs and can increase a community’s revenue to help fund education and critical basic services.
“Our goal is to meet Michigan’s property owners and communities where they are to start a conversation about mutually beneficial solar solutions,” Dobbs said.
Large landowners or community officials who want to learn more about potential for siting can visit ConsumersEnergy.com/misolar to provide basic details about their property and begin a discussion with company solar experts.
Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.