WASHINGTON, August 9, 2017 - DTE Energy looks to build a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired power plant with capabilities to power 850,000 home beginning in 2022. The company filed a Certificate of Necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission and anticipates breaking ground on the $1 billion project in 2019. DTE says the new plant would employ wind and solar energy to help it reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent initially and by more than 80 percent by 2050. It will replace the company’s aging coal-fired plant.
“A fundamental transformation in the way we produce power in Michigan has already begun. Last year, we announced three DTE coal-fired power plants will be retired by 2023 and replaced with cleaner, more efficient, reliable and affordable energy, including natural gas and renewables,” said Trevor F. Lauer, DTE Electric president and COO. “This filing with the MPSC includes nearly a year of research and a competitive bidding process that determined building a natural gas-fired plant is the best solution for our customers due to many factors, including the environment, reliability and affordability.”
Clean energy groups say they are working on a better deal for Michigan residents. Vote Solar joined other public interest organizations to intervene in the process. They plan to present information detailing clean energy alternatives which they say would make more sense for consumers. Becky Stanfield, Senior Director for Vote Solar’s Western States, released a statement which advocates for a more environmentally friendly approach to the old plant’s replacement.
“Utilities, businesses and homeowners across the country are turning to solar power to keep energy costs low, build healthy communities, and fight climate change. There is a clear need in Michigan to retire aging, polluting and expensive coal plants, and we commend DTE for moving in that direction,” Stanfield said. “However, replacing those coal units with a new gas plant will expose customers to decades more reliance on imported and potentially volatile fossil fuels.”
The new plant is scheduled to begin operation in 2022, offsetting some of the capacity retired when three of the company's Michigan coal-fired power plants – River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton Channel – are removed from service in the 2020-2023 timeframe.