March 26, 2024

Michigan-Based CMS Energy (CMS) Arm to Construct Large-Scale Solar Project

The Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center and Consumers Energy, a subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation, recently announced their collaboration to construct their first large-scale solar project.

Construction and Capacity of the Solar Project

Construction on the Muskegon Solar Energy Center in Michigan is expected to commence in April 2024, with completion slated for 2026. This solar project, boasting a capacity of 250 MW, is projected to generate ample energy to sustain approximately 40,000 households.

Situated on roughly 1,900 acres of Moorland Township land and in collaboration with the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center, the facility will harness solar energy to meet the needs of tens of thousands of households. Nasdaq reported today.

The utility intends to produce 8,000 megawatts of solar energy annually by 2040, and the Muskegon Solar Energy Center will be a component of its new infrastructure.

Consumer Energy Builds, Muskegon Gets Lease Payment

Projects like these are essential to accomplishing Consumers Energy's ambitious clean energy goals, which are among the highest in the country, according to a statement from David Hicks, vice president of clean energy development at Consumers Energy.

All sides stand to gain from collaborating with the Muskegon County Resource Recovery Center, which has a long history of serving the county, as well as from the advantages of solar energy and the potential cash this arrangement may bring.

Under the terms of the agreement, Muskegon County, Moorland Township, and the MCRRC will own the property and receive lease payments, while Consumers Energy will own and run the facility.

As part of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, the utility company and the state have been collaborating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and shift to renewable energy sources.

Consumer Energy’s Goals Being Met

Being among the first utility companies in the country to go coal-free by 2025, Consumers Energy is still on schedule to achieve this goal. Their overall objectives are to source at least 90% of their power from clean, renewable sources and to be carbon neutral.

Over time, our bills will decrease as we increase the amount of solar projects available since it is less expensive to route free energy. For this reason, we are eager to add additional renewable energy each year. Speaking for Consumers Energy, Tracy Wimmer stated, "We have a very ambitious goal for the number of megawatts by 2040."

Additionally, Consumers Energy is developing two more solar projects: one near the site of the former Bay City Karn coal plant and the other on a 3,000-acre farm that straddles the boundary between Barry and Calhoun counties.

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The Future of Solar Jobs in Michigan Appears Promising

Michigan is experiencing a surge in clean energy job opportunities, driven by the initiatives of the Biden Administration. Through the Inflation Reduction Act, significant investments totalling $21 billion are being directed towards fostering a healthier, more prosperous, and equitable future for the state.

These provisions aim to reduce energy costs for Michiganders, enhance infrastructure resilience, and advance the nation towards energy independence. In just one year, over 15,500 new clean energy jobs have been created across Michigan, with projections suggesting an additional 167,000 jobs in the sector over the next decade.

Initiatives like Lears’ new plant in Independence Township and Magna’s new plant in Auburn Hills, among others, exemplify the growing momentum in solar projects, promising more high-paying job opportunities in the state and contributing to a sustainable energy transition.

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