Michigan Utility DTE Energy Looks To Double Renewables Capacity


In a submission to the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), Detroit-based DTE Energy has proposed its 2018 Renewable Energy Plan, which would add approximately 1 GW of carbon-free electricity.

The power would come from new Michigan wind and solar projects scheduled to be completed by 2022. If the plan is approved, these new renewable energy projects would drive an investment of more than $1.7 billion in Michigan and double DTE’s renewable energy capacity from 1 GW to 2 GW – enough clean energy to power over 800,000 homes.

The filing outlines DTE’s approach to Michigan’s 15% renewable portfolio standard (RPS), as well as its intent to offer a new voluntary renewable energy program specifically designed for large-business customers seeking to reduce carbon emissions. (It differs from DTE’s MIGreenPower voluntary program.) This new program will provide additional renewable resources beyond those proposed to meet the 15% RPS. The plan also includes the launch of a battery storage pilot program.

“The plan we have filed takes another significant next step toward our goal of cutting carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050 while continuing to deliver reliable and affordable power for our 2.2 million customers,” says Gerry Anderson, DTE Energy’s chairman and CEO. “Due to our substantial investments and use of renewable energy, DTE has already reduced its carbon emissions by nearly 25 percent by driving investments of approximately $2.5 billion over the last 10 years in Michigan’s renewable energy sector and adding 1,000 MW of wind and solar capacity – enough clean energy to power more than 450,000 homes.”

Highlights of DTE’s 2018 Renewable Energy Plan include as follows:

  • Bringing online the Pine River wind park later this year and the Polaris wind park in 2019. Together, the projects will have the capability of generating 330 MW.
  • Adding 300 MW of new wind capacity in 2020 to supply the new voluntary renewable energy program.
  • Building two additional wind projects that will provide a combined 375 MW and begin operations in 2021 and 2022.
  • Installing approximately 15 MW of new Michigan-based solar over the next three years, increasing DTE’s solar capacity by almost 25%.

“Beyond this plan, DTE will continue to add additional renewable energy resources,” Anderson adds. “Reducing our company’s carbon emissions and developing cleaner sources of energy is a key priority for us. This work will also bring positive economic impacts such as job creation and local community revenue.”

DTE says it studied the engineering and the economics of Michigan’s energy future for two years before announcing last year its initiative to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80% by 2050 – a time frame that aligns with what scientists broadly have identified as necessary to help address climate change, according to the utility.

“We’ve concluded not only that the 80 percent reduction goal is achievable, it is achievable in a way that ensures Michigan’s power is safe, secure, affordable, reliable – and sustainable,” Anderson continues. “There doesn’t have to be a choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, although the debate often gets framed that way. We can have both if we invest in a smart way.”

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