Natural Gas Growth Helping Consumers Energy Provide Value to Customers

GasFlameConsumers Energy is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the recent emergence of natural gas to provide value for Michigan customers.

That’s the message Tim Sparks, vice president of energy supply operations, delivered to about 300 local business leaders April 25 at the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Economic Club luncheon in East Lansing.

Significant technological advances have enabled unprecedented access to natural gas, both in Michigan and across the nation. As a result, the U.S. has enough natural gas to last more than 90 years at current usage levels.

Natural gas fuel prices are at their lowest point in a decade, and dropped another 15 percent for customers this month.

“Natural gas is the fastest growing fuel used to generate electricity,” Sparks told the crowd at Michigan State University’s Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. “Price stability should be here for quite some time and our customers will benefit from that.”

Sparks also presented a webinar April 17 to business customers on how to maximize value from falling gas prices and energy efficiency rebates and incentives offered by Consumers Energy. Presentation PDF   Webinar recording

Consumers Energy also is making significant capital investments to maintain and upgrade its natural gas delivery system. We’re spending nearly $600 million on two pipeline projects and four compressor stations.

The centerpiece of the natural gas strategy is a planned investment of $750 million to build a 700-megawatt natural gas-fired generating plant near Flint. If approved, construction of the Thetford plant is currently scheduled to start in 2015. The new power plant would then begin serving customers in 2017.