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DTE Energy

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? 

Cypress Creek Renewables

Cypress Creek Renewables has been lining up farmland in Michigan for more than a year now.

The object? Leases for enough land to install several hundred megawatts worth of new, emissions-free solar projects. Combined, that would equal the electricity output of a small coal-fired power plant.

But a bill introduced in Congress by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., could put a halt to those plans, as well as the plans of other renewable energy companies that want to set up shop in Michigan and states across the nation.

Modernizing PURPA, or gutting it?

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

A group of environmentalists wants Michigan's utility companies to use 30 percent renewable energy by 2030. The wind and solar advocates have started a campaign to get their proposal on the 2018 statewide ballot. 

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton has been following the story. She joined "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou to discuss the ballot initiative and its chances of becoming law. 


Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University flipped the switch on its new co-generation plant Friday, making the university the first in Michigan to meet close to 100% of its campus energy needs.

Cogeneration is an efficient way to use natural gas. The plant burns natural gas to spin a turbine, which creates electricity. The hot exhaust is then funneled to a generator that creates steam heat. 

John Donegan is vice president in charge of facilities. He says the plant will be able to produce 98% of the heat used on campus, and 93% of the electricity.  

"This is the most economical, most environmentally friendly way to mass produce large amounts of electricity and steam," he says.

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

The corporate tax rate went from 35% to 21% on January 1.  That means a windfall for the state's utilities. 

But because they are regulated by the government, DTE Energy, Consumers Energy and other regulated utilities will be required to pass the savings on to ratepayers. 

DTE says the tax cut will save it about $190 million a year, and Consumers Energy says it will save a similar amount, about $200 million. 

utility pole
Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Energy companies in Michigan are likely to receive massive tax cuts thanks to the new federal tax overhaul. That means customers could eventually see lower electric and gas bills.

Wealthy benefit most from Michigan’s energy savings plans, study finds

Dec 14, 2017
Consumers Energy's Karn peaker plant
Bridge Magazine

Michigan utilities spend tens of millions of dollars each year on rebates, energy audits, and other programs to help customers cut their energy bills.

Most of that spending isn’t helping the customers who could use the savings the most, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan.

The study from the school’s Urban Energy Justice Lab found energy efficiency programs at Michigan’s two largest utilities disproportionately benefit wealthier ratepayers.

pixabay

The state's utility regulator says it will require electricity providers that compete with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to generate some of their power in Michigan, but the requirement will be implemented after 2021.

The so-called "Local Clearing Requirement (LCR)" is in addition to the requirement in the state's new energy law that those providers also prove they have access to their own generation capacity four years out.  That means they can no longer rely largely on buying electricity at auction from year-to-year to serve customers.

power lines
Stefan Andrej Shambora / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://MICHRAD.IO/1LXRDJM

The Michigan Public Service Commission is considering a rule that opponents say would dramatically raise electricity rates for schools, universities and businesses, as well as potentially eliminate competition for Michigan’s two major utilities.

The rule would require electricity providers that compete with DTE Energy and Consumers Energy to supply their customers with energy generated within Michigan — instead of from a larger market.

The Ambassador Bridge
cmh2315fl / creative commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The owners of the Ambassador Bridge scored a big victory this week. The Canadian government has finally given the Detroit International Bridge Company permission to build a new bridge next to the Ambassador, just a couple of miles upriver from the site of the publicly funded Gordie Howe International Bridge project. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about hurdles the DIBC still needs to clear before the new span can move forward.  

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.

Consumers Energy's Karn peaker plant
Bridge Magazine

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.

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