www.mybaycity.com May 18, 2008
Rotary Article 2619

Consumers Energy Public Affairs Directory Kelly Farr Addresses Rotary

The average age of Power Plants is 48 years old.

May 18, 2008
By: Stephen Kent

Last Weeks program - May 13, 2008 Farr Briefs Rotarians on Consumers Energy Plans

Consumers Energy Public Affairs Directory Kelly Farr addressed the Rotary Club on his company's plans for the new power generation facility at the Karn-Weadock facility in Hampton Township. "We have one of the oldest fleet of power plants in the nation", said Farr. "The average age is 48 years and no new coal plants have been built since 1980."

After the 2003 power blackout that shook the entire region, the Michigan Public Service Chairman commissioned 2 studies, which brought together all of the constituencies. The result of the study showed a projected need for 9000 megawatt capacity by 2025, more than the highest daily demand today.

Consumers Energy has devised a "balanced energy initiative" that calls for doubling it renewable energy capacity using resources such as hydro, wood chips, solar, wind landfill gas. Coal, however, remains an essential power source. The United States has the largest coal resources in the world. By some estimates there is a 300 year supply.

The proposed facility at the Karn plant will be a "clean coal plant". The present plant is based on 1950's technology that has been upgraded often. There comes a time when upgrades and patches are not enough and a redesign using the latest technology is needed. Farr emphasized that the latest technology provides a great improvement in pollution control for coal fired plants.

Of some 100 sites from which to choose, Consumers feels that the Hampton Township site is the best. The company has had a presence there since the 1940's. Transmission lines are in place. The site has both rail and water transportation, giving an advantage when negotiating for shipping services. The location also enjoys a receptive public and business community with endorsements from almost everyone including cities and townships, unions, politicians and political parties, and business groups.

The economic impact of the new plant would be significant for the area. Construction would add some 1,800 jobs over several years. Once completed the plant would add some 80 permanent positions. Consumers currently pays about $11 million in taxes and the new plant is projected to pay on the order of $18 million.

The project is currently waiting on legislative action. A comprehensive energy plan has passed the Michigan House and is now waiting Senate action. Farr encouraged everyone in the audience to join The Michigan Jobs and Energy Coalition, which supports the effort.


Welcome new member Chris Girard, President / CEO of Do-All, Inc. Chris is a Bay City native. He and his wife have a house full of kids including their own, some adopted, and some fostered. Chris is active in a number of community programs and will be a great addition to the club.

The club budgeted to send six students to the leadership program at Camp Rotary. Eight students were selected so the board increased the budget to cover the extra two.

The Board endorsed a district wide program to increase giving to Polio Plus by $100 per member over the next three years. Deb Lutz, who will chair the effort in our club, announced the goal to the club.

The Board also voted to co-sponsor next year's district conference, which will be hosted by the Caro Club and will be held at the Doubletree Conference Center in Bay City.

The Annual Golf Outing is scheduled for Monday, June 2, 2008 at the Bay City Country Club. See Brian Kay or visit the club web site for details. (RotaryBayCity.org)

Upcoming Programs

(See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org )

  • May 20 To be announced.

  • May 27 Chippewa Nature Center Executive Director Dick Touvell.

    Visit RotaryBayCity.org

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