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      Consumers Energy announces plans for $750 million power plant in Thetford Township

      The announcement that Consumers Energy will build a 700-megawatt power plant in northern Genesee County didn't fall on deaf ears Friday.

      â??This is the best news we've had in years,â?? Harold Harrington, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 370 member, said.

      The utility plans to build a $750 million natural gas plant in Thetford Township. A strategic location because of its proximity to a gas line and access to high-power transmission lines.

      It will be able to provide power to roughly 445,000 customers.

      Dennis Dobbs, Consumers Energy vice president of generation engineering and services, said, â??It'll run for much longer periods of time, it'll be able to adjust to shifting demands for customer power."

      Construction of the plant is expected to create 600 jobs, and in the long run, employ 30 people.

      â??A lot of our people - construction people - have not worked on a steady basis in years,â?? Thetford Township Supervisor Eileen Kerr said.

      Beyond the economic boost from job creation and tax revenue, Consumers said, the plant fits the company's long-term goal to provide cost-effecting energy efficient power to customers.

      â??Natural gas prices being low, seems to be the right fuel and the right choice to be able to meet our goals,â?? Dobbs said.

      After securing an air permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, construction should be ready to go in 2015.