The planned completion of the upgrades to the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant were pushed back into mid-2021 thanks in part to a snag in the project itself as well as COVID-19.
The project — co-owned by Consumers Energy and DTE Energy with Consumers having a 51-percent stake — began operation in 1973. Over the past several years, a $800 million upgrade was undertaken, and the sixth and final turbine was supposed to be installed with the upgrade completed by now.
But, the upgrade project has a delay.
“The date for the Ludington Pumped Storage turbine upgrade project to be completed has been changed to the May or June 2021 timeframe,” said Terry DeDoes, senior public information director for Consumers Energy. “The main cause of the delay is a component needed for reassembly did not pass inspection and was rejected, requiring a replacement to be manufactured.”
DeDoes said they expect the replacement component to arrive by the end of the year. Some of the pieces of it are being manufactured and shipped from overseas. These components, DeDoes said, won’t be the larger turbine parts that closed area roads because of their width.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also created delays, too.
“There was about a two-month period when all contract workers were restricted from the Ludington Pumped Storage site due to COVID-19 restrictions,” DeDoes said.