Essexville, Mich. Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Consumers Energy marked a significant milestone today in the ongoing work to power Michigan’s clean energy future with the formal closure of two Karn coal plants in Michigan’s Bay region. The company has one of the most aggressive clean energy and reliability plans in the nation, and the decommissioning of the two facilities puts Consumers Energy one step closer to closing all coal plants by 2025.
The occasion was commemorated by a ceremonial lowering of the facilities’ flag and an event attended by generations of employees and retirees, union leadership, community members, including the Karn family, and representatives from Consumers Energy. Named for former Consumers Energy President Dan E. Karn, the plant began operating 64 years ago.
“We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of employees who helped make Karn 1 and 2 an important part of our energy story here in Michigan,” said LeeRoy Wells Jr., Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of operations. “The legacy of their work and these plants continues, as it will now serve as a reminder of what we are capable of accomplishing together when we prioritize doing what is right for our customers and for the planet.”
The closures are part of Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan, the company’s roadmap in the shift away from coal toward renewable energy sources. The ongoing transition balances the responsibility to provide safe, reliable energy to power nearly 2 million Michigan homes and businesses with the need to protect the state’s natural resources.
Consumers Energy continues to evaluate the site and is working closely with local leaders to determine next steps for the grounds. The plant property is already home to a diverse array of wildlife, including eagles, deer, and fish.
“Consumers Energy has worked for years to carry out this transition safely and efficiently, not only for our customers, but for our employees, for the land, and for the community that Karn has been a part of for years,” said Tonya Berry, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of transformation and engineering. “Leadership in this transition means not doing what is easiest or cheapest, but doing what is right, and we intend to leave this space better than we found it.”
Consumers Energy has also prioritized the transition for Karn employees who wish to remain with the company, as well as providing support and guidance for those electing to retire with the plant or move on to other career opportunities. Two additional generating units on the grounds, Karn 3 and 4, will continue to operate on natural gas and oil through 2031 as the company continues to build its renewable energy portfolio. Consumers Energy continues making progress toward the goal of having 90 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2040, and the continued operation of Karn 3 and 4 will ensure Consumers Energy meets Michiganders’ energy needs.
Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest energy provider, providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.
Media Contacts: Tracy Wimmer, 517-539-4465, or Brian Wheeler, 517-740-1545