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      Consumers Energy moves ahead on $750M power plant

      Consumers Energy says plans are moving forward for building a 700-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Genesee County.

      The unit Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp. announced Monday that Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has approved an air permit for the facility.

      The $750 million project will be on Consumers Energy-owned land in Thetford Township, about 20 miles northeast of Flint. Consumers Energy has said development of the plant is consistent with a plan to meet the needs of the utility's customers during the next 20 years.

      The plant would be operational in 2017 and serve a community of about 445,000 people. Consumers Energy says the air permit is a major step toward that goal. It also needs approval on a filing to the Michigan Public Service Commission as well as financing.