CMS buys wind farm, opens charging stations

JACKSON—Two green energy moves Friday by Jackson-based CMS Energy Co. and its subsidiary, Consumers Energy.

First, Consumers Energy announced that the first PowerMIDrive fast charging stations for electric vehicles are now operating in four Michigan communities.

Said Brian Rich, Consumers Energy’s senior vice president for customer experience: “We are serving the public’s interest in electric vehicles, not just with these fast charging stations, but with over 400 rebates that our PowerMIDrive program has approved for homes and public locations across Michigan.’

Fast charging stations are now operating at these locations:

  • Big Rapids – Johnny’s Markets, 21445 Perry Ave.
  • Cadillac – J&H Family Stores, 2560 E. Division St.
  • Gaylord – City of Gaylord, 201 S. Court
  • Marshall – Johnny’s Markets, 15423 N. Old US 127

The stations typically charge an electric vehicle battery from zero to up to 80 percent in an hour, giving drivers the power to travel long distances on vacation or for work.

Up to 30 more fast charging stations should be operating by early next year across the Lower Peninsula, in communities such as Flint, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Jackson and Kalkaska. Consumers Energy provides rebates worth up to $70,000, plus electric upgrades to make them operational.

Consumers Energy started PowerMIDrive last year to promote electric vehicle ownership for the good of the planet and Michigan’s economy. The Edison Electric Institute forecasts more than 18 million electric vehicles will be on U.S. roads by 2030, and Michigan has seen year-over-year electric vehicle growth of more than 20 percent.

PowerMIDrive is still accepting rebate applications for home and public electric vehicle chargers:

  • Residential: Rebates worth $500 for installing eligible 240-volt chargers at homes.
  • Public: Rebates for 200 Level 2 vehicle chargers in public places and at workplaces, with a rebate of up to $5,000 per charger.

Consumers Energy parent CMS Energy also announced that it purchased a majority stake in Aviator Wind, a 525-megawatt wind energy project in Texas that will support efforts by Facebook and McDonald’s to achieve their clean energy goals. The project will start operations by fall 2020 in Coke County, about 250 miles southwest of Dallas.

Aviator Wind will be operated by CMS Enterprises, a subsidiary of CMS Energy that develops, owns and operates utility-scale renewable energy facilities, including wind and solar. Most recently, CMS Enterprises started operating Northwest Ohio Wind, a 105-megawatt project that generates clean energy committed to General Motors. With the Aviator Wind acquisition, CMS Enterprises now owns and operates 11 independent power plants and more than 1,800 megawatts of generation nationwide.

CMS Enterprises purchased the project’s majority stake from funds managed by Ares Management Corporation’s Infrastructure and Power strategy, which constructed and managed the project. Kansai Electric Power is the project’s other major partner.

CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS) is a Michigan-based company that has an electric and natural gas utility, Consumers Energy, as its primary business. CMS Enterprises also owns and operates independent power generation businesses.

For more information on CMS Energy, visit cmsenergy.com.

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