CMS Energy CEO Says Michigan Can’t Abandon Coal

CMS Energy CEO David Joos says that the state of Michigan cannot abandon coal because it is essential to keeping energy costs down.

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A short article from the Jackson Citizen Patriot last week features some interesting comments from the CEO of CMS Energy (CMS owns Consumers Energy) on the future of coal energy in Michigan.

In the article, CEO David Joos says he thinks that the election of Barack Obama and the Democratic shift in the legislature will keep a focus on the environment. However, he warns “we can’t abandon coal as a resource in this country.” Michigan gets 55% of its energy from coal. Joos says that his company is currently in the midst of plans to build a $2 billion coal plant near Bay City. Joos said, “it will be among the cleanest plants… in the world.”

However, despite Joos’ optimistic assessment about coal, coal power plants have been the target of organized opposition in Michigan. Much of this opposition has centered on coal’s relationship to global warming. While many industry leaders are talking about so-called “clean coal,” environmental activists have argued that there is no such thing. They argue that coal–from its acquisition to its burning–is environmentally destructive.

The article from the Jackson Citizen Patriot never mentions any criticism of coal.

Similarly, when Joos spoke earlier this week at a conference organized by the Edison Electric Institute, he didn’t mention any of the problems associated with coal. Instead, he focused on his company’s financials–the theme of the conference–and said that the company is in good financial shape. He also mention plans to invest in a new coal plant.

Joos said that recent energy legislation in Michigan has been “very constructive” and that it will help benefit his company. Among the provisions that he cited as being helpful are “deskewing” measures that allow CMS to have slightly lower business rates and higher residential rates (previously, industrial companies such as GM paid higher rates), and the possibility of getting funding for large projects. Joos said that although the bill mandates that 10% of its energy come from renewables by 2015, it is already half way to achieving that goal. Joos said that they have a better regulatory environment than they have had in the past several years.

Prior to the passage of the energy legislation, CMS was active lobbying for changes to the state’s energy policy.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media // mediamouse.org