GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy will be launching an independent study of the company’s 13 river hydro facilities to determine the future of its dams.
Consumers operates the 13 facilities across five rivers in Michigan — the Au Sable, the Grand, the Kalamazoo, the Manistee and the Muskegon Rivers. According to a release posted Monday, the facilities run on federal licenses that last between 30 and 40 years. The licenses for the first facilities are set to expire in 2034.
“Consumers Energy is committed to being a good neighbor and working transparently as we make informed decisions to reach the best outcomes for our customers, stakeholders and the communities we serve,” said Norm Kapala, vice president of generation operations at Consumers Energy. “We know our dams play significant roles in Michigan, especially in the economies of the communities near our facilities, and we share with local leaders and others the desire to quantify those impacts before developing long-term strategies regarding the future of those facilities.”
The company expects the study to advise them on how to act in the future, choosing one of four potential options: relicensing the dams to continue generating electricity, selling the dams, removing the dams or replacing them with an alternative structure.
Public Sector Consultants, a Lansing-based consulting firm, will run the study. That firm has already held listening sessions to gauge community feedback.
“A common theme we heard during our 27 community engagement meetings with communities and stakeholders is to know more about how much of the economic activity in the communities around our dams are associated with the hydro facilities,” Kapala said in a release. “We have listened to the community members, and we are working on this economic contribution study to answer those questions to better understand those impacts.”