7 Coal Plants Retire

Coal Plant During Day

As an important part of our transition to clean energy sources, and commitment to build a sustainable future for our company, the people of Michigan and the environment we share, we retired our seven oldest coal-fired generating plants on April 15, 2016.  Retiring these plants will result in a 25% reduction in our carbon footprint, a 40% reduction in air borne sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulates, and will reduce our statewide water use by 40%. Only one other utility in the nation is moving more aggressively to replace coal fired generating plants with sustainable alternatives.

These plants, which we call the “Classic Seven”, have provided Michigan with up to 950 megawatts of affordable and reliable electricity for more than 75 years. The seven plants include:

  • Two generating units at the B.C. Cobb Plant in Muskegon.
  • Three generating units at the J.R. Whiting Plant in and near Luna Pier.
  • Two generating units at the Karn-Weadock Plant near Bay City.

Even though saying goodbye to these plants is an important step toward making our air the cleanest it has been in a generation, it presents challenges for us, our employees and the communities the plants have served. We value the historic contributions of the plants and the people who’ve worked there. Our ongoing efforts to help the people and communities impacted by the retired plants include:

  • Helping employees maintain a role with the company.
  • Working with impacted communities to transition to new site uses and economic opportunities, including:

    • Working to help the Port of Muskegon remain prosperous.
    • Bringing together community, policy and business leaders from the city of Luna Pier and Monroe County for a stakeholder process aimed at creating jobs and tax revenue development opportunities.
    • Continuing to run four generating units at the Karn Plant in the Karn-Weadock Generating Complex to supply jobs and tax revenue to the local economy.

B.C. COBB PLANT, MUSKEGON

Location: Just over a mile from Lake Michigan on the shores of Muskegon Lake.
Year opened: 1948
Generating capacity: 320 megawatts
Named for: Bernard “Burt” Capen Cobb, a former company president.
What they’re saying: “We all know each other really well and work well together. The trick is to make sure everyone is doing the best job they can right up to the end. These folks here have stepped up and they are doing it.” - John Johnson, Senior Engineer
BC Cobb Power Plant

J.C. WEADOCK PLANT, BAY CITY

Location: Hampton Township, at the mouth of the Saginaw River.
Year opened: 1940
Generating capacity: 310 megawatts
Named for: John C. Weadock, a company founding father.
What they’re saying: “This has always been a good place to work. It’s a good bunch of people who take ownership in the plant and are proud to do what they do.” – Bill Johnson, Production Supervisor
JC Weadock Power Plant

J.R. WHITING PLANT, LUNA PIER

Location: On the Lake Erie shoreline of southeastern Michigan, south of Monroe.
Year opened: 1952
Generating capacity: 328 megawatts
Named for: Justin R. Whiting, a former company president.
What they’re saying: “The employees have so much pride in what we do here.” – Clark Gallagher, Head of Maintenance
JR Whiting Power Plant