DTE Energy | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

DTE Energy

DTE Energy

DTE Energy says it is committing to achieve net carbon neutrality by the year 2050.

The term, "net carbon neutrality," means reducing carbon emissions, along with offsetting emissions by supporting outside carbon reduction efforts, in order to achieve a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions attributable to the utility.

Trevor Lauer, president and chief operating officer for DTE Electric, says the path to 100% carbon neutrality will require utilization of technologies that are not currently fully developed.

Consumers Energy

An advocacy group says Michigan utilities aren't meeting the business demand for renewables.

Laura Sherman is president of the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.

She says Michigan utilities charge too much for their voluntary renewable energy programs. She says the programs aren't adequately recognizing that wind and solar are among the cheapest sources of electricity right now.

"It's a markup right now," says Sherman. "If it is the cheapest, then the customers should be reaping the benefit of that cheaper energy, long term."

Work being done on Orchard Lake Rd where a power pole fell.
DTE Energy

Crews are working to restore power after heavy storms over two days knocked out power for hundreds of thousands of Michigan homes and businesses.

DTE Energy | Tree maintenance

The Michigan Department of Corrections has partnered with DTE Energy and IBEW Local 17 to train inmates in trimming trees.

MDOC worked very closely with DTE and IBEW Local 17 to develop the curriculum for the program, located at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson. It allows inmates to get hands-on experience. 

solar panels on roof of home
pixabay

In May, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a new, so-called "inflow/outflow" model for  rooftop solar rates, replacing the former "net metering" scheme.

Solar installation companies say the new rates are slowing demand for rooftop solar already.

Under net metering, people would get a credit for excess energy they put onto the grid, equal to the rate they were being charged for using their utility's electricity.

windmill in field
cwwycoff1 / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Xcel Energy has reached a settlement with environmental groups that puts it a step further on its ambitious path to zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

Xcel Energy's Northern Michigan Power division provides electricity to 9,000 customers in Michigan. 

The utility also serves customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

Mark Stoering, President of Xcel Energy - Michigan and Wisconsin, says the utility proposes to fast-track the retirement of Xcel's remaining coal-burning power plants by 2030. 

DTE

The Michigan Public Service Commission says DTE Energy can raise residential electricity rates by nearly 9%, starting in May. That's roughly a $6 per month increase for most customers.

The rate increase will pay for infrastructure, including a new billion dollar natural gas plant, plus an increase in the utility's tree-trimming activities. DTE says tree limbs falling onto lines during storms are responsible for a majority of power outages.

But the commission has rejected DTE Energy's proposal to raise fees and slash credits for customers with solar panels.

Part of the new line 6B pipeline in central Michigan.
Mark Brush ❤️ / Michigan Radio

A new report by an energy watchdog group says companies are betting over a trillion dollars in risky gas pipeline projects.

Global Energy Monitor says these projects are hugely expensive - so the payback is over decades. Climate scientists say we need to stop burning fossil fuels completely by 2050.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Margaret Lewis is a retired court reporter who lives in a big, older home in Highland Park -- the kind you say has "good bones," because it needs some work. 

She's on a fixed income, and she's done just about everything she can think of to lower her utility bills. 

One winter she even turned the thermostat down to 50 degrees.

A wind turbine above a barn
jettajet / Flickr

DTE Energy's Pine River wind park became operational this week. The utility now has 14 wind parks and 31 solar projects in Michigan.

Dave Harwood is with DTE. He says Pine River is the latest addition to DTE's renewable energy porftolio. "Here in Michigan we're doing our part to transition our generating fleet from fossil fuels to renewable sources," says Harwood.

Wind turbine
Ken Whytock / Flickr

General Motors says it is buying enough wind energy from DTE Energy to power its Warren Tech Center and most of its headquarters in Detroit. 

DTE Energy

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved changes to DTE Energy's MI Green Power plan, which lets customers subsidize renewable energy.  

The MI Green Power plan lets customers pay extra for the utility's renewable energy projects that go further than the state's 15% mandate. 

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

DTE Energy’s proposed rate hike will hit low-income customers the hardest and benefit them the least, according to groups who protested outside a DTE customer service center in Detroit this week.

DTE has a rate case pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Environmental groups oppose DTE's latest rate proposal

Jan 24, 2019
DTE's River Rouge plant
DTE Energy

The Michigan Environmental Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club are speaking out against DTE Energy's most recent rate case before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

"DTE's proposal is unprecedented in the sheer amount of money they're requesting - over $2.8 billion," said Ariana Gonzalez, senior energy policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. "And we don't feel they've made the case for that amount of money."

A picture of a digital electricity meter
DTE

A mess over billings and improper shutoffs has led to an $840,000 fine for DTE Energy.

State regulators approved the settlement earlier this month. Sally Talberg of the Michigan Public Service Commission says the commission has "great concern when utilities violated consumer protection rules."

The investigation began a year ago, months after DTE began using a new billing system. The commission received complaints that power was being improperly shut off. More than 4,000 customers did not receive a proper shut-off notice for nonpayment.

power lines in trees
Steffan Vilcans / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Customers who rely on alternative electricity providers are breathing a sigh of relief.  That's after state regulators set a rule that will likely let the providers keep operating at least through 2023, according to the Alliance for Michigan Energy Consumers.

Alternative electric companies, also known as electric choice, can serve up to 10% of DTE Energy and Consumers Energy customers.  The lower rates offered by electric choice companies attract customers with big electric bills like school districts. 

cford3 / Wikipedia

Leaders in Monroe County say what they thought was a negotiation with DTE Energy over a property tax reduction turned out to be anything but.

Without giving advance warning to negotiators, the utility has asked the Michigan Tax Tribunal to slash its property taxes in the county by nearly 60% over five years, because its coal-burning Monroe Power Plant and its nuclear plant, Fermi 2, have lost value.

wikimedia commons

Environmental groups haven't given up trying to stop DTE Energy from building a $1 billion natural gas plant.  

The groups are asking the Michigan Public Service Commission to reconsider the permit it approved for the plant. 

Margrethe Kearney is with the Environmental Law and Policy Center. She says renewable energy becomes cheaper and more reliable every year.  

"And it just doesn't make sense for Michigan to say we're going to build a huge natural gas plant, which means of course we won't be building any of that other stuff," she says.

Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy plans to dramatically increase its use of solar energy by the year 2040.

It's a big part of the utility's first long-term energy plan, required by Michigan's new energy law.

CEO Patti Poppe says solar is clean energy, and the cost of providing it is likely to come down by 35% by 2040.

And she says solar is one of the best options for providing electricity at times of peak demand.

Natural gas plant
World Resources Institute

Utility companies are shutting down some of their older, less efficient coal-burning power plants. 

To generate the electricity to replace those old plants, utilities have to decide whether to build more coal-fired plant or go with natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy, or some combination.

DTE Energy recently decided to replace some of its older coal-burning plants with a natural gas burning plants, incorporating little additional renewable energy.

windmill in field
cwwycoff1 / Flickr Creative Commons HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

Michigan's two largest utilities have struck a deal with the group Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan that will keep a renewable energy initiative off the ballot in November.

The group, backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, agreed to drop the ballot drive in exchange for a commitment from the utilities to rely on 25 percent renewable energy by the year 2030, and to increase energy efficiency by 25 percent by 2030.

Roxbury Group

Cities like Flint and Detroit are redeveloping former industrial sites along their waterfronts.

Now it's hopefully Ann Arbor's turn, says a developer working for DTE Energy. David Di Rita is with the Roxbury Group.

He says DTE Energy wants to redevelop the former MichCon coal gasification plant on Broadway, along the Huron River.  The plant was closed in 1938.  

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

DTE Energy now has the green light to build a billion dollar natural gas power plant in St. Clair County.   But while state regulators approved of the plan, they also made it clear they didn’t like the way the utility behaved during the review process.

solar panels
David Goehring / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two solar energy companies say DTE Energy is stonewalling to keep them out of the state.

Kevin Borgia is with Cypress Creek Renewables, which plans up to 700 megawatts of new solar farms in Michigan.

He says the company can't proceed without first getting basic information from DTE, like where's a good place to connect to DTE's grid - and what kind of transmission upgrades will be needed.

He says DTE is violating state law by continually failing to meet deadlines to provide the information. "Over 100 times DTE has failed to meet those deadlines," he says.

Michigan officials have approved an energy company's request to build two natural-gas-fired turbines outside Detroit.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A coalition of groups is calling on state regulators to reject DTE’s plans to build a billion dollar natural gas plant.

The utility wants to replace three retiring coal-fired power plants with the new natural gas plant in St. Clair County.  The three aging coal plants represent roughly 20% of DTE’s power capacity. The plants are scheduled to shut down over the next five years.  

wind turbines in a field
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

DTE Energy says it will rely heavily on wind power double its renewable energy production by 2022.

The state’s largest utility submitted its latest plans to comply with Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio standards to the Michigan Public Service Commission Friday. Those standards require utilities to get 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2021.

DTE energy in Detroit
Ian Freimuth / flickr user

DTE Energy wants to put a new natural gas plant on the grounds of a Ford Motor Company research facility in Dearborn.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing about it Tuesday night.

Ford will shut down some boilers it currently uses to power the research facility. DTE will take over providing that power with the new plant, and provide additional energy it generates to the electrical grid.

Lansing Board of Water and Light

The Lansing Board of Water and Light meets Tuesday to vote on issuing bonds for a new natural gas plant, but opponents plan to make a last-ditch effort to change the minds of board members.

The city-owned utility held public meetings before choosing a natural gas plant to replace two coal-burning plants. "But that was several years ago," says Rebecca Payne with the Lansing Environmental Action Team. "Things on the energy market are changing overnight."

power plant
user cgord / wikimedia commons

DTE Energy is planning to close three of its coal-fired power plants by 2023.  That’s 1,300 megawatts of electricity coming off the books.  But what will take its place? 

Pages