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A SITE SELECTION INVESTMENT PROFILE
INVESTMENT PROFILE: CONSUMERS ENERGY
From Site Selection magazine, May 2022
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Going Clean?

Michigan Delivers Energy Advantages and More

INVESTMENT PROFILE: CONSUMERS ENERGY
Chevy Bolt.
Photos courtesy of Consumers Energy

by RON STARNER
M

ichigan’s largest energy provider is making it easier for its customers to go green.

Whether it’s converting to natural gas, switching to a fleet of electric vehicles, or sourcing your electricity through renewable power generation like wind and solar, Consumers Energy stands ready with programs designed to make the transition seamless.

“Michigan is positioned to be a climate winner in the years ahead as more frequent extreme weather events continue to impact our daily lives and influence business location decisions,” said Quentin Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). “Given our weather location advantages and leadership in an electrified, sustainable mobility future and other energy-intensive high-tech sectors, Michigan’s competitive strengths are being recognized more on the world stage. We are grateful for our strong partnerships with key forward-thinking energy solutions providers like Consumers Energy who are creating a cleaner and greener future for our children and grandchildren.”

From launching a new Flint Gas City training center focused on the talent pipeline, to improving site readiness and offering a new, competitive economic development rate, and ensuring a clean energy future, Consumers Energy brings an all-of-the-above approach to meeting the needs of its customers for the long haul.

Tyler Rossmaessler, executive director of the Flint & Genesee Economic Alliance, says his organization embraces the challenge to turn Michigan into a net zero carbon state and works with Consumers Energy on both worker training and site readiness.

“Flint and Consumers Energy have had a longstanding partnership,” says Rossmaessler. “We are close to a lot of their service area, and we have a strong workforce pipeline.”

Consumers Energy broke ground last October on the $10.1 million natural gas training facility, known as Flint Gas City, which will train more than 1,500 company workers who build, maintain and operate natural gas systems for the Jackson-based power company.

“Flint Gas City is a breakthrough initiative that directly impacts our goal to provide world-class performance and deliver hometown service,” said Tonya Berry, senior vice president of transformation and engineering for Consumers Energy. “This facility, along with our training team, will provide the best possible preparation for our current and future workforce.”

Assembling Michigan Mega-Sites

On site readiness, Rossmaessler says that Flint is well positioned in Michigan’s effort to develop mega-sites. “We are on the outskirts of the Metro Detroit area, which means we have more space,” he notes. “That is compelling. Michigan competed on some significant investments and was not successful. Consumers Energy responded. They secured a new rate for large energy-intensive customers. It positions Michigan well. We are working on assembling acreage, and we can provide great value.”


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"Consumers Energy is focused on providing solutions for businesses. Michigan passed a groundbreaking economic development rate last year that lets us compete with any state in the country.”

— Brian Rich, Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Consumers Energy


Flint is seeing a payoff from its efforts. “NorthGate Packaging took over an abandoned General Motors facility to create 371 new jobs, and DAG Technology is now making hubcap parts here. They came from China to the U.S.,” says Rossmaessler.

Consumers Energy also serves customers by pledging to go net zero in greenhouse gas emissions from its natural gas system by 2050. The company announced March 30 that it would partner with customers to reduce their emissions by 20% by 2030 and take the following steps:

  • Modernize its natural gas system to achieve net zero methane emissions by 2030.
  • End coal use and boost renewable energy fuel sources to achieve net zero carbon emissions from electric operations by 2040.
  • Power 1 million EVs in its service territory by 2030.

Brian Rich, senior vice president and chief customer officer of Consumers Energy, says it’s all about making Michigan more competitive for business.

“If you look at our clean energy position, the infrastructure is in place,” says Rich. “Customers can see that. Consumers Energy is focused on providing solutions for businesses. Michigan passed a groundbreaking economic development rate last year that lets us compete with any state in the country. On top of that, we have tools to eliminate upfront capital costs for our customers on electric and gas infrastructure.”

Big Projects, Here We Come

A new economic development rate was approved Dec. 22, 2021, by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The rate is designed to attract new business to Michigan and encourage existing industry to expand. The rate targets companies with 35 MW or more of new electric load and complies with Michigan’s cost-based rate requirements. It also means that existing utility customers won’t have to pay more to attract new businesses to the state. The new rate of 4 to 5 cents per kilowatt/hour is for a minimum 15-year contract term.

ElectricVehicle_Muskegon

The PowerMIFleetTM and PowerMIDriveTM programs from Consumers Energy provide easy access to electric vehicle charging that is sourced by increasing amounts of renewable energy.

Rich adds that customers are now asking for their power to be sourced by renewables. “We offer a Renewable Energy Tariff, and that makes us very competitive,” he notes. “On site readiness, we are seeing more economic development activity, especially with mega-projects that need 1,000 to 2,000 acres. They need land that is easily assembled. Emerging sectors in Michigan like battery plant investments, semiconductors and all parts of their supply chain typically need large sites. This is an opportunity for Michigan to modernize that sector.”

Clean Energy and Beyond

Consumers Energy announced April 20 that key stakeholders throughout Michigan have agreed on a settlement related to the company’s Clean Energy Plan, a sweeping proposal to stop using coal as a fuel source for electric generation by 2025, making the company one of the first in the nation to go coal-free.

The agreement, which requires regulatory approval, includes a broad coalition of customer groups, environmental organizations, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) staff, energy industry representatives, and the Michigan Attorney General and provides a 20-year blueprint to meet Michigan’s energy needs while protecting the environment for future generations. Learn more at ConsumersEnergy.com.change.

Additionally, Consumers Energy recently teamed up with General Motors to agree to power three Michigan auto plants with 100% clean energy. The announcement, made Feb. 1, involves the plants in Flint, Burton and Wyoming. GM made a 20-year pact with Consumers Energy to use clean energy at these facilities. The agreement supports about 70 megawatts of emission-free renewable power in the state.

Just one week prior to that announcement, GM announced a $7 billion investment in Michigan to create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 others by significantly increasing its battery cell production and electric truck manufacturing capacity in the state. The project includes construction of a new Ultium Cells battery cell plant in Lansing and converting GM’s assembly plant in Orion Township for production of the Chevy Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra.


This Investment Profile was prepared under the auspices of Consumers Energy. For more information, contact Valerie Christofferson at 616-648-2777 or valerie.christofferson@cmsenergy.com. On the web, go to 
www.ConsumersEnergy.com/econdev.

Ron Starner
Executive Vice President of Conway, Inc.

Ron Starner

Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.

  



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