JACKSON, Mich., Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy announced today that it plans to build a major new natural gas-fired power plant in Genesee County. The company estimates it will invest about $750 million in the project. The utility plans to develop a 700 megawatt power plant in Thetford Township, which is about 20 miles northeast of Flint. The project is expected to create about 600 construction jobs. The bulk of the construction jobs are expected to be filled by members of skilled trades unions. When completed, the proposed power plant also would create an estimated 30 operating jobs. Consumers Energy owns the 272-acre Thetford Township site, which features access to high-volume natural gas delivery and high-voltage power transmission lines. The site already is home to nine smaller natural-gas fired combustion turbine units. The current project schedule calls for construction to begin in 2015 and for the new combined cycle power plant to begin serving Consumers Energy's electric customers in 2017. At 700 megawatts, the proposed plant would be able to serve a community of about 445,000. Development of the power plant is contingent upon the company obtaining:
An air permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
A certificate of necessity from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC)
Consumers Energy plans to file an air permit application today with the MDEQ. The application will be for a permit that covers two combined cycle units at the Thetford site, supporting the company's option to develop a second unit at a later date. The MDEQ will set the schedule for its review of the permit application. The company expects to file a certificate of necessity application with the MPSC in 2013.