Distributed Energy Resources

Mich. utility proposes additional 1,000 MW of wind, solar

Michigan-based DTE Energy has submitted its 2018 renewable energy plan to the Michigan Public Service Commission proposing approximately 1,000 additional megawatts of power from new wind and solar projects in Michigan scheduled to be completed by 2022.

If approved, these new renewable energy projects would drive investment of more than $1.7 billion in Michigan and double DTE's renewable energy capacity from 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW, the investor-owned utility said on March 30.

The filing outlines DTE's approach to Michigan's 15 percent renewable portfolio standard, as well as its intent to offer a new voluntary renewable energy program specifically designed for large business customers seeking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The utility said this program will provide additional renewable resources beyond those proposed to meet the 15 percent RPS requirement and differs from DTE's MIGreenPower voluntary program.

The plan also includes the launch of a pilot program for battery storage technology aimed at improving the reliability of energy provided from wind and solar.

In testimony filed with the Michigan Public Service Commission, a DTE Energy official said the plan “introduces pilot technologies in energy storage and micro grid testing to increase reliability of intermittent resources and the grid.”

DTE said that highlights of the plan include:

  • Bringing online the Pine River wind park later this year, and the Polaris wind park in 2019. Together, the parks will have the capability of generating 330 MW and will be DTE's largest and most efficient wind parks to date, the utility said;
  • Adding 300 MW of new wind capacity in 2020 to supply a new voluntary renewable energy program for large customers seeking to reduce carbon emissions;
  • Building two additional wind parks that will provide a combined 375 MW and begin operation in 2021 and 2022; and
  • Installing approximately 15 MW of new Michigan-based solar capacity over the next three years, increasing DTE's solar capacity by almost 25 percent over the next three years.

"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," DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson said in a news release. "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, he said.

"Beyond this plan, DTE will continue to add additional renewable energy resources," Anderson said.

DTE said that 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 percent by 2050.

DTE plans to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, and 75 percent by 2040 on the way to its ultimate goal in 2050. It plans to do so by continuing to incorporate substantially more renewable energy, transitioning its 24/7 power sources from coal to natural gas, operating its Fermi 2 nuclear power plant and improving options for customers to save energy and reduce bills.

“These plans define a long-term shift by DTE to produce over three-quarters of its power from renewable energy and highly efficient natural gas-fired power plants,” the utility said.