Energy and environment. There was a time when it was one or the other. No more.
For driving one of the earliest and most aggressive carbon reduction plans to be announced by an energy company, DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson has been selected as the recipient of the Individual Climate Leadership award by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and The Climate Registry.
The award is in its eighth year and honors exemplary corporate, organizational, and individual leadership in reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. It was presented in Denver at the annual Climate Leadership Conference, which is dedicated to professionals addressing global climate change through policy, innovation, and business solutions.
“Gerry Anderson is extremely deserving of the Climate Leadership Award,” said Chris Kolb, president, Michigan Environmental Council. “His recognition that climate change is one of the defining public policy issues of our era and the defining issue within the energy industry is critical to the future health of the state of Michigan. He recognized the need for DTE Energy to take the lead in moving Michigan and the country forward to cleaner sources of energy that still provide reliable and affordable power for customers.”
DTE is Michigan’s largest investor in renewable energy, having driven investments of $2 billion in wind farms and solar arrays since 2008, providing enough clean energy to power 450,000 homes. These investments helped DTE cut carbon emissions by nearly 25 percent in 2017 since 2005. Business is the most effective and fastest force for change in the world.
“Fundamentally addressing climate change is among our greatest responsibilities,” Anderson said. “Reducing our company’s carbon footprint and developing cleaner sources of energy is a key priority for us. Over time, I suspect this work will also bring great opportunity – for example, when we invest to enable electric vehicles to drive similar transformation in the transportation sector.”
By continuing to incorporate more renewable energy and natural gas, and moving away from coal as a fuel to produce electricity to natural gas, DTE plans to reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030, 75 percent by 2040 and more than 80 percent by 2050. 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.
DTE studied the engineering and the economics of Michigan’s energy future for two years before announcing its 2050 carbon reduction goals – a timeframe that aligns with the target scientists broadly have identified as necessary to help address climate change.
“We’ve concluded not only that the 80 percent reduction goal is achievable, it is achievable in a way that ensures Michigan’s power is safe, secure, affordable, reliable – and sustainable,” Anderson said. “There doesn’t have to be a choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy, although the debate often gets framed that way. We can have both, if we invest in a smart way.”