FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek has committed to becoming the first Michigan casino in the state to source 100% of its electrical needs from renewable energy.
Earlier this week, leaders of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, which owns the FireKeepers Casino Hotel, were on hand at a press event announcing an intention to enroll in Consumers Energy’s Michigan Renewable Energy Program.
Under the plan, FireKeepers Casino will match its energy consumption with solar and wind energy from Consumers Energy. According to Consumers, the commitment by FireKeepers will conserve in excess of 273,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next two decades.
Are other Michigan casinos using renewable energy?
No other Michigan casino, either tribal-owned or commercially owned in Detroit, has joined the Renewable Energy Program.
FireKeepers will save 31,527 megawatt-hours of energy per year. The savings is equivalent to removing an estimated 61,000 gasoline-powered vehicles off Michigan roads, or the equivalent of recycling about 13,500 garbage trucks of trash.
“It’s up to us as a Nation, we’ve been given the responsibility by the Creator to protect Mother Earth,” tribal chairperson Jamie Stuck told the Battle Creek Enquirer on Monday.
“We just decommissioned our solar panels and moving forward with this renewable energy project with Consumers Energy is great timing and shows our commitment in making sure that we keep our promise as far as protecting Mother Earth.”
Potawatomi mission statement ensures protecting ‘Mother Earth’
The decision aligns with the mission statement of the Potawatomi tribe to ensure the health of “Mother Earth.” The tribe hopes others will follow.
“We are the first Michigan tribal casino to execute such an initiative,” FireKeepers CEO Frank Tecumseh during an announcement at the casino, “and we’re hoping that this change may be the catalyst that helps trigger similar action.”
Eric Clinton is the Director of Renewable Products for Consumers Energy. He said during the announcement that his company intends to shutter its coal facilities within two years. The goal is to operate a carbon-neutral power grid by 2040.
Consumers Energy provides electric and/or natural gas to 3.5 million Michigan residents in the Lower Peninsula. It has 6 million customers statewide, or roughly 60 percent of the state population.
Renewable Energy Program enrollees help the state by matching their energy usage and assisting the grid. When renewable energy comes online (via Consumers Energy) it’s sold into the power grid. Participants like FireKeepers earn credits based on the market price for the amount of energy they consume. As a result, the grid performs more efficiently, cleaner and cheaper for everyone.