As the country celebrates Earth Day on Tuesday, Consumers Energy is reducing its environmental footprint through a series of sustainability efforts focused at its generating plants across Michigan.

By 2017, Consumers Energy expects to reduce water usage at its power plants by 17% and by 20% in 2020.

At the D.E. Karn Plant near Bay City, a project is nearing completion to use recycled water and lime while also improving the environment. This system reflects industry-best standards for the treatment of the plant's flue gas to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions. The system will be operational this summer. If it proves successful, a similar system will be considered at the J.H. Campbell Generating Complex near West Olive.

Meanwhile more than $700 million in investments at the Campbell site continue to improve air quality and reduce plant emissions.  Multi-year projects are scheduled to be complete in 2016.

Consumers Energy is also undertaking additional activities to further reduce its greenhouse gas footprint, including:

  • The planned retirement in April 2016 of seven smaller coal-fired generating units;
  • The planned purchase of a natural gas-fired plant in Jackson;
  • Plug-in electric vehicle programs;
  • A compressed natural gas fueling station and fleet conversions;
  • Natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure upgrades;
  • All new buildings being LEED certified;
  • Electric grid modernization efforts, including smart meters.

Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.5 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.