Michiganders across the Lower Peninsula receive electricity from Consumers Energy that is generated through a variety of fuel sources. From fossil fuels to renewable resources, we are committed to providing sustainable energy for a cleaner environment. Environmental Characteristics of Consumers Energy Electricity, April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014
Here are the primary fuel sources we use to generate electricity for 1.8 million homes and businesses:
Fossil Fuels – Coal, Natural Gas and Oil
Consumers Energy owns and operates four fossil fuel plants, all certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. The process of electric generation occurs when coal, natural gas and oil heats water to produce steam—a method that accounts for 70 percent of our electric generating capacity. More than $800 million is being invested to help control air emissions at our fossil-fueled plants in the next few years.
This process of electric generation occurs when uranium atoms split to create heat, which is then used to make the steam. Nuclear energy powers 20 percent of the total electricity to our customers. See how Consumers Energy restored Big Rock Point, Michigan’s pioneer nuclear power plant.
Located along the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Ludington Pumped Storage plant is one of the world’s biggest electric “batteries,” and can provide energy at a moment’s notice. It uses a 27-billion gallon reservoir (size of 2 million backyard swimming pools) to turn a set of six turbines that drive electric generators. Those same turbines double as giant water pumps to fill the reservoir with water from Lake Michigan.
From Michigan rivers to wood, wind, solar, biomass and animal waste, renewable energy represents about 8 percent of the fuel mix for our customers. We are on schedule to produce 10 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by the end of 2014. Customers also can choose to get part or 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources made in Michigan through our Green Generation program.
- Hydro: Consumers Energy built 13 hydroelectric plants in the early 20th century. Today, the same plants create enough energy to serve about 70,000 customers. Their turbines and generators convert the energy of flowing water into electricity used in homes and businesses. Michiganders may camp, fish, canoe and enjoy other recreational activity near the hydros scattered on the Au Sable River, Grand River, Kalamazoo River, Manistee River and Muskegon River.
- Wind: Generating electricity through wind power is a renewable resource Consumers Energy is proud to invest in. The process occurs when wind turns the blades of turbines, spins a shaft and connects to a generator to create electricity. Our wind farms are located in Mason County and Tuscola County. Each turbine can generate enough electricity for more than 400 customers and there are 40 to 100 individual wind turbines per wind farm.
- Solar: Consumers Energy has more than 200 solar power contracts with residents and businesses throughout Michigan. Twenty-two new, diverse solar energy projects were also just selected to continue our efforts. Solar energy is generated when speeding sunlight (called photons) creates an electrical current within a solar panel.
Reducing energy use – In addition to a balanced energy portfolio, we are working every day with businesses and homeowners all over Michigan to reduce their energy use. Michigan residents saved $575 million through energy-efficiency programs through 2013. Learn more at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/save.