Covert Township - An energy company says it plans to permanently close the Palisades nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan in 2018.New Orleans-based Entergy and Michigan-based utility, Consumers Energy, say they've agreed to end a power purchase agreement for the plant that year. They say the move will save Consumers' customers as much as $172m and affect about 600 employees.Ending the purchase agreement is subject to regulatory approvals. If received, Entergy plans to close the plant October 1 2018. A company statement said it determined that's "prudent when comparing the transaction to the business risks of continued operation."An earlier agreement committed Consumers to purchase nearly all of the power that Palisades generates through April 2022.The plant is in Van Buren County's Covert Township, along Lake Michigan.