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As of: 5:44 AM, 12/9/23

The Future of Hydroelectric in Michigan

Map of the 13 hydroelectric dams owned by Consumers Energy

A Responsible Path for the Future

In Michigan, we love the water. We know how important our river hydro plants, and the reservoirs they create, are to the people living near them. People enjoy living, working and playing on the water and in the communities that have grown up near our 13 dams. But in the next 10 years, some of our hydro operating licenses issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), will expire. As we plan for a future of reliable, affordable clean energy we will take part in a multi-year review of all our hydroelectric plants.


Summer 2023 Updates


We would like to thank the more than 1,700 community members, organizations, and municipal leaders who met with us in person at our community sessions in the late summer and fall of 2022. We are carefully considering the feedback that was shared with our team during those meetings. We're currently going over hundreds of local property owner surveys and website comments that were submitted. Due to the large amount of input we've received, we adjusted our decision timeline to collect more information about the economic and environmental impacts related to the hydroelectric plants. This will allow us to better assess the potential benefits of the plants to all communities.

Economic Contribution Studies
We’re talking with a neutral third party to better assess the economic contributions of the 13 hydroelectric dams as well as the effects of their impoundments. This research contains professional data analytics that features person-to-person outreach. This outreach extended to over 100 community partners with a review of the financial snapshots of each operation. Each study will give us crucial information for a potential transfer or sale of a hydro facility, including:

  • Economic and employment contributions
  • Recreational activity
  • Property values

Our Updated Decision Timeline

  •  Summer 2023: When we'll announce upcoming dates and locations for community engagement meetings.
  • Fall 2023: We'll have information available about the assessment of fall 2022 community feedback.
  • Late Fall 2023: Phase two of community meetings will begin. In these meetings we'll discuss and prepare for future dam planning scenarios.
  • Winter 2023: We'll have a follow-up from the second phase of the community meetings to assess potential opportunities that support river hydro communities.

A Review of Current Hydro Operations


  • A detailed review of our 13 river hydro plants will help us choose the best path forward.

    For each plant there are several potential results. It could lead to a renewal of our operating license for 30 more years. It could also lead to replacing or removal of the plant. A transfer of ownership is another possibility. During each review we will be looking at the following:


  • Safety

    We will inspect the safety of each plant. We will also review the condition of the plant. On top of that we will review what could happen to people living downstream if a dam fails.


  • Complying with Regulations

    We will evaluate the cost and feasibility of operating each plant safely, while meeting state and federal regulations.


  • Community

    We will explore how each hydro plant and reservoir has affected the community and the areas around it. We will also explore how potential changes to the hydro plant could affect the community.


  • Cost of Operation

    We will explore expected future spending for operating each plant. We will also add up the electricity we expect each plant to generate.


  • Environment

    We will explore the impact of each plant on the environment. We will look at sediments, fish and other animals, invasive species, and other ways the plant affects the environment.


  • Recreation

    We will review the impact of each hydro plant on local recreation.


2022 Community Meetings Recap


We know that the decisions we make about our hydro operations could have an impact on local communities and recreation. That’s why we held public meetings about each facility, run by a neutral third party.

At each meeting the public gave us their feedback, and learned about:

  • FERC licensing
  • How we are evaluating hydro facilities
  • Details about river hydro operations
  • Early information about dam conditions, safety and operating costs
  • How to stay engaged in the review process

We will use what we heard as we plan the future of our hydro plants.

For questions, please contact hydro@cmsenergy.com


Upcoming 2023 Meeting Dates and Locations


Doors will open at 5:30 PM with the public meeting starting at 6:00 PM.

Federal and State Oversight


Everyone that is involved in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing process is acutely aware of how final decisions will impact river hydro communities. We are committed to holding intentional interactions with all regulatory stakeholders in this process, including the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, to advocate for the most positive outcomes for customers and other residents in these valued river hydro communities. 

Questions About Hydro Planning