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With Consumer's announcement, what's next for J.H. Campbell in Ottawa County?

JH Campbell Coal Plant
Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy

On Wednesday, Consumers Energy announced its plans to stop using coal as a fuel source for electricity by 2025…With that comes the shutdown of three coal plants in West Michigan.

The announcement Wednesday that Consumers Energy would moving away from coal 15 years earlier than first expected also means that three coal-fired units at the J.H. Campbell Generating Plant in West Olive in central Ottawa County would shut down in 2025, far earlier than what many of the 300 + employees had anticipated.

While a spokesperson said that the company is sympathetic to the workers who previously thought they had much more time to get ready, Brandon Hofmeister, is the senior vice president for governmental, regulatory and public affairs, says it’s a necessary step for the greater good.

“It’s important because those emissions stay in the atmosphere for decades,” Hofmeister. “So it is a huge win for the planet.”

What then will also become of the coal fired plants and the necessary cleanup? Hofmeister weighs in…

“These are sites in Ottawa County with that are prime pieces of real-estate with lakeshore advantages, that I think could be put to good use for economic redevelopment,” Hofmeister said. “But we want to work really close with local communities to develop their own vision.”

A Consumers Energy spokesperson told WGVU as well that the workers would be given options to stay with the company once the coal plants are retired, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having to relocate from Ottawa County.