By: Patti Poppe, President and CEO of Consumers Energy & CMS Energy
Consumers Energy has taken sustainability seriously for 130 years, and it’s something we’re committed to focusing on for the next 130. To us, sustainability means focusing on a triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit. With each decision we make, we consider the company’s impact on our customers, communities and coworkers; our natural resources and our shareholders.
Recent actions in Washington, D.C. have left a lot of people wondering what our energy future will look like in Michigan. Thankfully, the state has a new law, passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in late 2016, which puts Michigan in control of its energy future – despite what’s happening on the federal level.
The new, bipartisan law:
- Encourages a cleaner energy future by instituting an achievable 15 percent renewable energy standard;
- Promotes reliability by ensuring all electric providers can prove they have the long-term energy supply needed to serve their customers; and
- Ensures affordability by expanding programs which help customers reduce energy waste and alleviate the need to build new power plants. These programs have already saved our customers over $1 billion on their energy bills since 2009.
With the 2016 energy law as our guide and a commitment to the triple bottom line motivating us, we, at Consumers Energy are determined to stay on a clean and lean path. We’re proud that the benchmarking firm Sustainalytics found that we ranked number one of all U.S. utilities on our sustainable business practices. Some recent initiatives include:
- Closing seven of our oldest coal-fired power plants – the largest percentage of coal eliminated of any U.S. utility in 2016;
- Reducing our carbon emissions 30 percent – which already met the carbon reduction commitments of the U.S. in the Paris Accord; our water intensity by 20 percent; and our electric generation supply is already down to nearly 20 percent coal;
- Opening two solar power plants last year and breaking ground on a third wind farm this month; and
- Introducing new options for large business customers to receive 100 percent of their energy supply from renewable sources.
We are committed to growing our renewable energy use portfolio and maintaining a balanced mix of energy sources. We’re well on our way down a path of sustainability – and we’re committed to staying on that path.