A major maintenance and upgrade of the Ludington pumped storage plant will result in a significant investment in northwest Michigan.
Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison, which co-own the plant, will invest about $40 million a year for 10 years in the project, which will create 100 construction building trades jobs annually for six years and increase the plant’s generating capacity by 16 percent.
The company operates and owns 51 percent of the plant, which has provided Michigan electric customers with reliable, low-cost electricity since 1973. Detroit Edison owns 49 percent of the facility.
The project, which will increase the generating capacity of the plant from its current level of 1,872 megawatts (MW) to about 2,172 MW, includes a major contract with Toshiba International Corp.
Toshiba, a global leader in electric generator technology, will fabricate and install equipment to increase the efficiency, output and reliability of the plant’s 312-megawatt hydroelectric units.
“This major investment will enhance the capability of the plant, increase the clean energy in Michigan, continue to generate cost-competitive power for our customers and optimize the Ludington facility for the growth of renewable energy in Michigan,” said John Russell Consumers Energy president and chief executive officer.
The National Hydropower Association (NHA) congratulated the company and Detroit Edison on the upcoming maintenance and upgrade of the plant.
“Projects like Ludington demonstrate how the hydropower industry can grow sustainably by increasing efficiency and adding generating capacity at existing facilities,” said Linda Church Ciocci, NHA’s executive director.
“With the right policies in place and with projects like Ludington in the pipeline, the U.S. could add 60,000 megawatts of new hydro capacity by 2025 and meet 20 percent of President Obama’s 80-percent clean energy goal by 2035.”