MSU president: University finished using coal at power plant

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EAST LANSING, MICH. (WLNS) – Tuesday morning, the green and white looked a little bit greener, as Michigan State’s president, Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, announced the school has stopped using coal at its campus power plant, a move that came ahead of schedule.

“You don’t know how all those pieces will come together until the final moment but you need to push to try to always be exceeding your goals,” said President Simon at the event.

Consumer’s Energy’s Garrick Rochow says the pivot to natural gas has multiple benefits.

“By switching from coal to natural gas the university will be doing its part to protect the environment and reduce operational cost,” he explained.

For the university it’s not just about getting this power plant off of coal. It’s also about looking 10, 20 years down the road to a future of sustainable energy.

“As we replace some of that existing equipment…We’ll be able to do that with the latest technology and take into account the latest trends in energy and make sure that we’re viable into the future,” added MSU Associate Vice President Dan Bollman.

This is all part of the school’s “Energy Transition Plan,” with the ultimate goal of having 100 percent of the school’s power coming from renewable energy.

But for President Simon, it’s important to not over-reach with these experiments.

“If we take a risk with that on the power side because we’re not reliable enough or on the cost side because we’re then charging students and taking money away from experimentation and research, we’ve not fulfilled our role.”

Simon also wants students to know energy consumption is a looming issue.

“It will be one of the big 21st century challenges as we’re all so electronically connected,” she cautioned.

Coal in the shadows today as Michigan State strives for a cleaner tomorrow.

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