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DTE Energy

picture of DTE Trenton Channel power plant
Courtesy of DTE Energy

DTE Energy wants to replace three old coal plants with a huge new natural gas burning one. The company expects to break ground in 2019, DTE announced today. That's if it can convince the state that there is a need for the new plant, and that natural gas is the best way to fill it. 

Trevor Lauer, DTE Electric's president and chief operating officer,  says the plant will be capable of producing 1,100 megawatts. That's enough to power 850,000 homes.

Thunderstorm over Lake Michigan.
Pete / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Thunderstorms packing winds exceeding 60 mph caused damage across Michigan, knocking out power to tens of thousands of customers.

Trees and power lines were knocked down by the storms, which started Thursday night and continued Friday morning. Heavy rain and hail were reported in places. Consumers Energy says more than 130,000 homes and businesses it serves lost power.

Authorities say a 72-year-old man has died after a tree fell on a home in western Michigan while severe thunderstorms moved across the state.

Eric Norris / Flickr

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has partnered with the DivDat Kiosk Network to make water bill payments more convenient. 

More than 15 percent of Detroit homes have their water shut off due to late or unpaid bills. 

DWSD conducted a soft-lauch in March to assess people's attitudes toward the kiosks.  

Michigan Radio

DTE Energy will close its last coal-burning plant by 2040, and reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

The decision comes in spite of the Trump administration's decision to slam the brakes on the Clean Power Plan, which would have allowed the U.S. EPA to regulate carbon emissions for the first time.

While the president and top administration officials continue denying the causal connection between carbon emissions from human activity and climate change, many corporations, including utilities like DTE, have accepted it as fact.

wind turbines
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DTE is looking to focus its wind energy development beyond Huron County after voters there rejected proposals to expand the number of wind turbines in their county.

Huron County has more wind turbines that any other county in Michigan. That's thanks to the favorable winds that make that part of the Thumb ideal for wind energy projects.  

But on Tuesday, voters overwhelmingly rejected two proposals to add dozens more. One of the proposals would have let DTE erect up to 70 additional wind turbines.

Christoper Sessums / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Crews are working to restore power to thousands of customers in Michigan after storms packing high winds, snow and heavy rain hit the state.

Authorities say Thursday's weather was a factor in at least one death. The Kalamazoo County sheriff's department says 57-year-old Kelli Roberts of Gobles died following a two-vehicle crash on snowy roads in southwestern Michigan.

Undersheriff Paul Matyas says she was going too fast for road conditions when she tried to pass a truck.

Most of us don't think about how much electricity costs at different times of the day. But the state's two largest utilities are planning to change that.

When it's really, really hot and humid out, what do lots of people do when they get home? They turn on, or turn up, the air conditioning.

There are big spikes in electricity demand on the hottest summer days, between 2:00 in the afternoon to 7:00 in the evening.

Christoper Sessums / Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan’s major utilities have restored power to the vast majority of those who lost it after last Wednesday’s unprecedented windstorm.

The Shockey family sits on their couch waiting to start a card game.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

About 400,000 homes and businesses in Michigan were still without electricity Friday night – after high winds knocked out power to much of the state on Wednesday.


LadyDragonFlyCC / Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan's wind-generated power woes are not over yet. 

Major energy providers Consumer's Energy and DTE Energy announced Thursday that more than 800,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity, and many in the dark about when they can expect to get their power back. 

Consumer's Energy spokesperson Terry DeDoes says crews have been working tirelessly throughout the week to restore power to the over 320,000 customers facing interruptions, routinely logging 16 hour days. He says while there has been progress, full power is still a few days away.

Original plan for natural gas pipeline route. This plan has now changed.
Draft FERC filing / EnergyTransfer

There are a pair of natural gas pipelines being planned for Michigan. One is called NEXUS. Its main owners are Spectra Energy and DTE Energy. The other pipeline is called Rover. It's owned by Energy Transfer, which owns close to 5,000 Sunoco gas stations.

Both will carry natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, crossing Ohio, through Michigan, and into Canada. They could use eminent domain powers granted to them by the federal government. A lot of homeowners along the route are not happy.

DTE

Michigan regulators have authorized DTE Energy to increase electricity rates by 4%.

The Public Service Commission approved a $184 million annual rate hike Tuesday, effective Feb. 7. It's less than what the Detroit-based utility self-implemented in August, so customers will initially get a refund covering the last six months.

DTE had sought a $344 million annual rate increase and had self-implemented a $245 million increase.

The final rate is 4% above what was set in DTE's last electric case in December 2015.

Ken Lund / FLICKR, CREATIVE COMMONS HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

DTE Energy's coal-fired power plant in Monroe has been named one of the nation's "super polluters" in a report by the Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan, non-profit investigative news organization.

The report said the Monroe plant ranks 11th in the country for the most greenhouse gases emitted into the air and 140th for the most toxic air releases. That's out of 20 thousand power plants, factories and other industrial sites reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

DTE Energy / via Twitter

Construction got started Friday on one of the largest urban solar farms in the country to date.

DTE Energy is behind the project, which will convert 10 acres of largely vacant, city-owned land in O’Shea Park, on the city’s west side, into a site that produces enough energy to power 450 homes.

U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz was on hand for the groundbreaking.

A natural gas pipeline
www.FERC.gov

Are people writing from beyond the grave to support a proposed natural gas line that would run from Ohio into Southeast Michigan and on into Ontario?

According to a story in today's Detroit Free Press, the answer is yes.

MorgueFile /

Some old city power lines turned deadly in Detroit this week, prompting calls to finally get rid of them altogether.

Twelve-year-old K’Brianna Griffin was killed Wednesday night while playing in a neighbor’s backyard on Detroit’s west side.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials are asking Michigan utilities to be ready in case there are any problems with getting enough electricity to consumers today.  

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, issued a reliability alert in Michigan after a fire at a DTE power plant overnight.

cford3 / Wikipedia

Consumers Energy in April closed seven of its coal-burning units.

DTE Energy plans to shut eight of its coal-burning units by the year 2023.

Mark Barteau is Director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute.  He says eventually, coal is going away because natural gas, wind and solar are more cost-effective - as well as being better for public health and the planet.

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

DTE Energy is the state’s largest utility. It provides electricity to more than two million people in southeast Michigan. Until very recently, DTE leaned on coal-fired power to generate about 3/4 of that electricity.

But that’s about to change dramatically.

The news came down this week that DTE will close three of its remaining coal-fired power plants between 2020 and 2023.

Two of those plants are just south of Detroit, in River Rouge and Trenton. The other is in St. Clair County.

Wind turbine
Tim Wang / flickr http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

DTE Energy wants to raise electricity rates for residential customers, and it's getting push back from the state's Attorney General.

Utilities companies can ask for rate hikes once every year, but that doesn't mean they'll get them. The Public Service commission has to give the ok.

And Attorney General Bill Schuette says DTE's latest request is unreasonable. It would raise rates about $7 a year for the average residential customer – but Schuette points out, DTE just got a rate hike approved last year.

Wikipedia

DTE Energy is taking its biggest plunge into solar power yet, with a Lapeer County project announced Monday.

According to DTE, that project will be the “largest utility-owned solar array east of the Mississippi.”

It calls for nearly 150,000 solar panels spread over about 300 acres, generating a combined 45 megawatts of power on two sites. That’s more than three times the company’s solar output right now.

David Harwood, DTE’s director of renewable energy, says that until now its renewable energy portfolio has favored wind power.

Sean_Marshall / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

A group of cities has successfully challenged DTE Energy’s plan to charge it more for LED streetlights.

A coalition of cities took its case against DTE’s proposed rate change to the Michigan Public Service Commission.

DTE claimed that it was merely adjusting prices as it “gains more experience” with LED technology.

That angered cities that had installed LED streetlighting, which is more energy-efficient than traditional lighting, but also more expensive upfront.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are expected to take up a major overhaul of Michigan’s energy policy as they return from their November break.  

The House and Senate are debating bills to change the state’s 10 percent renewable energy requirement on electric utilities. The bills’ sponsors insist they are just trying to make Michigan’s energy generation market competitive and fair by removing preferential treatment for particular sources of energy.    

Consumers Energy / Flickr/user

With a contentious road funding deal finally done, state legislators have some big issues to tackle when they come back from vacation, such as modifying Michigan's energy laws.  

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

  

Alarms are going off. People are checking gauges, trying to determine what's wrong.

We’re in a large simulator of a nuclear reactor control room at the DTE Energy Fermi 2 power plant on Lake Erie near Monroe. Employees are being trained to deal with just about any foreseeable problem a nuclear power plant might face. 

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Researchers say there would be beneficial side effects from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Clean Power Plan. 

The plan is intended to lower carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30% by the year 2030.  CO2 is a large factor in climate change.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

UPDATED 5/11/15

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan appeals court has rejected challenges from people who don't want a new digital meter from DTE Energy.

The court says state regulators did nothing illegal or unreasonable in approving an opt-out program. It allows DTE to charge customers about $10 a month to send someone to a house to record electricity usage by hand. Customers who opt-out will get new meters but the radio transmitter will be turned off.

wikimedia commons

Some southeast Michigan cities are preparing to take on the state’s largest utility.

At issue is DTE Energy’s plan to raise rates on municipal LED streetlight installations.

Detroit skyline.
user JSFauxtaugraphy / Flickr

Update 7:25 pm

100% of Detroit's public lighting grid was up and running as of Tuesday evening, city officials said, while noting Public Lighting Department crews were still dealing with a handful of "localized issues."

All PLD customers lost power this morning, after a "major cable failure" at the Mistursky power station. When crews tried to reconnect part of the system through another circuit, a breaker failed, triggering a system-wide shutdown around 10:30 am.

The PLD grid is being phased out over four years, and is currently serviced by DTE Energy. DTE is in the process of building a replacement grid, but is still using the old infrastructure to serve most PLD customers in the meantime. Those customers include some of the city's largest institutions--such as the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, a number of courts, many Detroit Public Schools, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

At an afternoon press conference, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the outage is "another reminder of how much work we have to do to rebuild this city."

“A bankruptcy order doesn’t solve the decades of neglect in our infrastructure, and that’s what we saw," said Duggan.

“Every month that goes by, we will be more and more on a more modern system, and the likelihood of this happening will go down. But it’s part of rebuilding the city.”

DTE Electric President Jerry Norcia said the company is in the process of inspecting the current system and making needed upgrades, but had been focusing on known weak points. 

"This was a station that had not failed before," said Norcia, who said the exact cause of the cable failure isn't known yet.

The city's police and fire stations also lost power, but the 911 dispatch system and other communications were up and running throughout. That was fortunate, as some trauma patients had to be re-routed from Detroit's Receiving Hospital, and firefighters rescued people stranded on the top floors of a few downtown buildings.

Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins said emergency personnel kept things operating with only a few minor adjustments. “They received instructions to move their vehicles outside the quarters, so we were able to respond to every call for help around this city," he said.

The Detroit Public Schools and Wayne State University canceled afternoon classes due to the outage.

Update 12:19 p.m.

Here's a statement from the Detroit Public Lighting Department:

The city’s public lighting grid suffered a major cable failure that has caused the entire grid to lose power at approximately 10:30 this morning.   The outage is affecting all customers on the PLD grid.  We have isolated the issue and are working to restore power as soon as possible.

The city’s Public Lighting Department is working closely with DTE during this process.  Mayor Mike Duggan and representatives of DTE will provide further details a 2PM press briefing at Detroit Public Safety Headquarters.

11:26 a.m.

A power outage affecting parts of Detroit closed several government buildings, including some courthouses, and left intersections without working traffic lights.

The outage happened about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

DTE's St. Clair Power Plant in East China, Michigan.
user cgord / wikimedia commons

 A new report from Public Sector Consultants projects Michigan will lose enough energy production for 1 million people in 2016.

According to Julie Metty Bennett, who helped author the report, Michigan is overly reliant on coal-fired power plants compared to other states.

Bennett says many of these coal plants in Michigan won't comply with new regulations from the EPA.

“Given the age of our coal plants, upgrading them to comply with the new EPA regulations is not economically viable. Because we are so reliant on these old coal plants, we are going to lose a significant amount of our energy supply, and it takes years to replace that capacity,” Julie says.

You can listen to our conversation with Bennett above.

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