PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Consumers Energy’s last coal power plant is set to be decommissioned, opening up property along Lake Michigan near West Olive for development.
A new study looked at what land from the J.H. Campbell plant along Lakeshore Avenue north of Pigeon Lake would be suited for. Much of the 2,000-acre property of the plant is expected to be available, Port Sheldon Township Supervisor Mike Sabatino said.
“Some have described it as this unicorn opportunity,” Sabatino said. “It’s various properties with different characteristics and that’s what that future use study looked at: What is physically possible, legally permissible and maximumly productive — these kind of criteria.”
The study says some of the land is more suited for parks, homes and businesses, while others sections could remain industrial. The fly ash landfills could also have another use:
“On that property, there’s the potential for some battery storage. There may be some small-scale solar, but I get the feeling it wasn’t the highest and best use for that area,” Sabatino said.
Consumers says it is committed to supporting the area’s economy by having space available for new industry.
“While we lead the clean energy transformation, Consumers Energy is committed to a just transition for coworkers, communities, and the planet where we partner to solve challenges as justly and equitable as possible. Our bold Clean Energy Plan will help create a brighter future for Michigan. But we expect changes along the way which will lead to new opportunities for our co-workers and the customers and communities we serve.
“The decommissioning of the Campbell plant will follow the same deliberate, thoughtful, and caring process that we have followed for other coal plant closures. The future use study is an early part of the process that identifies different possibilities for reimagining the local economy. As we continue through this transition over the next several years, we will work with the community and stakeholders throughout decommissioning to ensure the community benefits and prospers.”Consumers Energy
Tracey Eick, who lives in the area, said she wants a well thought-out process with community involvement. She also wants to ensure the beauty of the lakeshore will be protected.
“Just the recreational opportunities; the undeveloped resources, natural resources that are here,” Eick said.
The township is looking for community input as it works through reviewing zoning and the master plan.
“I think as we take it a step at a time, engaging the public and their involvement for what we can do as far as input, we’ll see something that will be beneficial and a win for the township in the end,” Sabatino said.
Consumers Energy says the plant, which employs 300 people, will stop producing power in 2025.