Today, DTE Energy announced a broad sustainability initiative that will reduce the company’s carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by 2050. This reduction and 2050 timeframe align with the target scientists broadly have identified as necessary to help address climate change.
“Over the past two years we have studied the engineering and economics of Michigan’s energy future very, very carefully,” said Gerry Anderson, DTE Chairman and CEO. “We have concluded that not only is the 80 percent reduction goal achievable – it is achievable in a way that keeps Michigan’s power affordable and reliable. There doesn’t have to be a choice between the health of our environment or the health of our economy; we can achieve both.”
DTE’s efforts to cut its carbon emissions will garner a 30 percent reduction by the early 2020s, 45 percent by 2030, 75 percent by 2040 and more than 80 percent by 2050. The company will achieve these reductions by incorporating substantially more renewable energy, transitioning its 24/7 power sources from coal to natural gas, continuing to operate its zero-emission Fermi 2 power plant, and strengthening 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 natural gas-fired power plants.
“I want to be clear that this plan is more than a commitment to a long-term goal in 2050,” Anderson said. “We have already begun fundamental transformation in the way we produce power, and we will press that transformation forward steadily in the years and decades ahead, sharply improving environmental outcomes in the process.”
In a nod to potential employee concerns, Anderson noted that no layoffs are anticipated as a result of this carbon reduction plan. In fact, the company’s research shows that they will need to hire hundreds of new employees over the next 10 years.
DTE’s plans include:
- The construction of an additional 6,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity – enough to supply the energy for nearly 2 million homes – supplementing the 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy DTE has built since 2009
- The addition of 3,500 megawatts of natural gas-fired energy capacity to supply 24/7 power and ensure reliability
- The steady retirement of the company’s aging coal-fired plants, which continued in 2016 with announced shutdown of 11 coal units by the early 2020s
- The investment of $5 billion over the next five years to modernize the electric grid and gas infrastructure, ensuring reliability while creating and supporting more than 10,000 Michigan jobs
- Continued heavy investment in energy efficiency and energy waste reduction, helping customers to both save money and take great control over their energy use
- An aggressive plan to reduce energy and water within DTE’s own facilities by a minimum of 25 percent.
“We need to lead by example by reducing water and energy use at DTE as we work with customers to do the same,” Anderson said.
Previously, DTE retired three of its coal-fired power plants – the Marysville, Harbor Beach and Conners Creek plants. In 2016, three additional coal-fired generating units at plants also were removed from service. This process of retiring coal-fired power capacity will continue with the retirement of the River Rouge, Trenton Channel and St. Clair power plants in the early 2020s.
Since 2009, DTE has spearheaded more than $2 billion of investment in wind and solar resources. The solar project DTE is currently completing in Lapeer, Mich., is among the largest solar fields east of the Mississippi River.
“The transformation of the way we produce power is in full swing,” said Anderson. “Like all big transformations, this one won’t happen overnight. It needs to be planned carefully and will entail big investments, but that can absolutely be done. We are committed to accomplishing this within the timeframe scientists have laid out and in a way that works for Michigan’s economy, homeowners and businesses.”