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Published in Energy

Four new solar projects set to come online next year for Consumers Energy

BY Tuesday, September 07, 2021 11:32am

Consumers Energy expects to start purchasing power next year from four new solar projects that will add more than 100 megawatts of renewable energy to the utility’s generation mix.

The Jackson-based Consumers Energy will contract for power from four third-party developments as opposed to owning the projects. The solar projects are in Allegan, Lenawee, Manistee and Washtenaw counties.

San Diego, Calif.-based solar and energy storage developer Borrego announced this month that it’s overseeing the engineering, procurement and construction of its first three Michigan solar projects in Cement City, Pullman and Letts Creek. The projects are expected to be online in mid-2022 and will be owned and operated by AES Corp. The total 72 MW of power will be sold to Consumers under power purchase agreements.

Brian Barker, general manager of Borrego’s utility-scale engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) division, said the solar development opportunity in Michigan more broadly is “great.”

“Policy and public demand are really driving a lot of renewable energy adoption,” Barker told MiBiz. “For us, the opportunity is to get into Michigan, learn the local nuances and the local labor and subcontractor partners, and start understanding more about how to best work with utilities.”

Construction has started on the 26 MW project in Pullman in southwestern Allegan County, Barker said, while the company plans to “begin mobilizing” on the other two sites in Lenawee and Washtenaw counties “as quickly as possible.” 

Meanwhile, Consumers also announced last month that it has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement for 30 MW of capacity from the Heathland Solar project being developed at a former golf course in Onekama in Manistee County. That project is being built by Holland-based Prism Power Partners LLC.

“We are all in on solar energy and proud to team with a fellow Michigan company to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for our state by reusing valuable land and protecting the planet for future generations,” Tim Sparks, vice president of electric grid integration at Consumers Energy, said in an announcement about the Onekama project. “We are leading the state’s clean energy transformation as we provide the affordable, reliable electricity our homes and businesses need for decades to come.”

Consumers’ clean energy plan filed with state regulators calls for adding nearly 8,000 MW of utility- and third party-owned solar to its portfolio, including about 1,100 MW by 2024.

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