A Michigan utility is cutting coal-generated electricity from its energy mix by 2040 to decrease emissions over concerns about global warming, the Associated Press reports.
Consumers Energy will shift to using energy from natural gas, hydropower and renewables. The company and DTE Energy Co., another utility, supply a majority Michigan’s electricity. Both companies are cutting back on electricity from coal because of climate change.
“We believe that climate change is real and we can do our part by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and we also believe it doesn’t have to cost more to do it,” Consumers Energy President Patti Poppe told the AP. “We believe we’re going to be on the right side of history on this issue.”
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Consumers Energy and other companies moving away from coal are placing pressure on Wyoming’s coal industry, which supplies about 40 percent of the coal burned in the U.S., the Casper Star Tribune reports.
Companies adopting similar strategies to phase out coal and plant closures across the U.S. are chipping away at Wyoming coal mines’ ability to operate.
“The challenges are big, and it’s a question of uncertainty out there for the Wyoming coal industry,” Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director Travis Deti told the Star Tribune. “With the closures, you are obviously losing clients.”
More affordable renewable energy options are making coal a less competitive energy source and driving it out of the market. Consumer Energy took seven of its 12 coal-fired power plants offline in 2012, cutting the company’s emissions by 38 percent from 2008 levels, Poppe told AP.
“We don’t have to make a sucker’s choice of either affordable prices or clean energy,” she said. “We can do what’s right for the planet and the customers we serve. We don’t think there’s a trade-off to be made here.”
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