The problem that supporters of the proposed 600-megawatt plant never recognized was this: Planet Earth is not a perfect place to build a coal plant. Coal is too dirty; it has become too expensive to mine, ship, and burn; and it is the number-one source of climate-changing carbon emissions. If the world hopes to escape the worst effects of airborne toxins and global warming, it must stop burning the stuff-the quicker the better. So Wolverine’s cancellation of its so-called “Clean Energy Venture” puts the firm in step with the rest of the country and the world.
In a quick and quiet decision, Michigan environmental regulators have given Wolverine Power Cooperative another year to break ground on its long-delayed, highly controversial Rogers City coal plant. But stricter coal plant emission limits, soaring coal-power costs, cheap natural gas, and falling demand for electricity could still doom the 600-megawatt project.
Air permit denied! I had long thought that when I finally read those words I would be filled with happiness and joy. The reality was that I cried. And then I got really angry.
Those first and last points won the day with the state, which determined that Wolverine has other, cheaper, cleaner options for obtaining power, and that the plant would increase the cost of its customers’ electricity by close to 60 percent.