Consumers Energy has invested $550 million in a natural gas pipeline replacement initiative to address Michigan heating needs despite the push for a transition to green energy.
Responding to a question about the company’s huge investment in the natural gas pipeline when there’s piling pressure for the country to achieve green energy goals, the Energy Consumers’ project manager, Juliet Matko, emphasized the significance of the natural gas project as over 75% of households in Michigan rely on it for heating their homes.
The project entails swapping out a 1940s-era, 20-inch steel Mid-Michigan Pipeline across multiple Michigan counties. A modern 36-inch steel pipeline will span 55 miles, with construction starting this summer, covering 30 miles of pipeline, with the remaining work slated for the following summer.
The pipeline aims to enhance natural gas delivery north or south, utilizing Michigan's vast underground storage to secure cheaper gas in summer for distribution in winter – the nation's biggest underground storage capacity.
The replacement project, in planning for a decade, needed permits, easement updates with landowners, and a $550 million budget to undertake the pipeline’s construction.
While Michigan transitions to green energy, the natural gas pipeline sustains local needs as the state and utility aspire to ramp up solar and wind energy significantly.