US energy firm to spend $1bn to upgrade coal plants

A US energy firm is to spend more than $1 billion (£0.6bn) to modify its coal-fired power stations to reduce harmful air pollution. It is part of Consumers Energy’s settlement […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

A US energy firm is to spend more than $1 billion (£0.6bn) to modify its coal-fired power stations to reduce harmful air pollution.

It is part of Consumers Energy’s settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which resolves claims the company violated the Clean Air Act.

Consumers Energy will install, upgrade and operate pollution control devices at five of its coal-fired facilities. It will also take several coal units offline and plans to repower additional units with natural gas.

The EPA expects the upgrades to cut harmful emissions by more than46,500 tons every year.

The settlement with the EPA also requires the energy firm to pay a penalty of $2.75 million (£1.7m) and spend at least $7.7 million (£4.7m) on environmental projects.

Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance said: “This case demonstrates that energy can be provided to local communities in a responsible way that significantly reduces sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide known to contribute to serious health concerns.”