Consumers Energy to purchase energy from 1,800-acre Calhoun County solar farm | Michigan Farm News

Consumers Energy to purchase energy from 1,800-acre Calhoun County solar farm

Category: Technology

by Farm News Media

ConsumersSolarMFN-2019
A new agreement with Ranger Power adds 100 megawatts of solar energy for Consumers Energy customers from the River Fork Solar project in Calhoun County’s Sheridan Township.

ALBION — Consumers Energy and Ranger Power, a utility-scale solar development company, have announced an agreement for Consumers Energy to purchase 100 megawatts of solar power from River Fork Solar, a solar energy generating facility in Calhoun County.

This agreement will require final approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC).

“This agreement with River Fork Solar strengthens our Triple Bottom Line commitment Consumers Energy has made to people, the planet and Michigan’s prosperity,” said Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy’s vice president of enterprise project management and environmental services.

“Solar energy is a vital component of our Clean Energy Plan to substantially reduce carbon emissions, and we thank Ranger Power for their work to increase clean, renewable energy for our customers in Michigan,” Dobbs added.

MPSC had previously approved Consumers Energy’s Clean Energy Plan, in June, which called for eliminating coal as an energy source and meeting 90% of customers’ energy needs through clean sources such as renewable energy, energy waste reduction, and energy storage.

Consumers Energy selected Ranger Power’s River Fork Solar facility through a competitive bidding process. River Fork Solar encompasses about 1,800 acres in Sheridan Township and includes more than a half-million solar modules equipped with single-axis tracker systems.

The agreement means Consumers Energy will purchase about 2/3 of the site’s output for 20 years, according to Ranger Power President Paul Harris.

“We are excited to enter into this major agreement with Consumers Energy and we are proud to play a part in providing clean, renewable energy to customers across Michigan,” Harris said.

According to Harris, the project is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 244,000 tons annually — equivalent to the annual emissions of 77,702 cars.

River Fork Solar is expected to generate a $2.5 million increase in household earnings in Calhoun County, creating an estimated 269 jobs during construction, with roughly $16 million in construction dollars being spent in Calhoun County, according to a study by Anderson Economic Group.

“The River Fork Solar Project is the result of our community-first approach to development and will provide clean, renewable energy to Michigan consumers while creating new jobs in Sheridan Township and contributing to the economic health of Calhoun County and the region,” Harris said.