DTE Energy has taken a significant step toward its goal of reducing carbon emissions by more than 80 percent by breaking ground on a state-of-the-art, $1 billion natural gas-fueled plant. The Blue Water Energy Center will be the most efficient power plant in the state when it begins producing affordable and reliable low-emission electricity for 850,000 homes starting in 2022.
“Just over a year ago, DTE first announced a broad sustainability initiative to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent and do it in a way that maintains affordability and reliability for our customers,” said Gerry Anderson, chairman and CEO, DTE Energy. “In fact, we’re already doing it. Since 2009 we have driven investments of more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy with more investments coming. But as we continue to retire coal-fired power plants – all of them by 2040 – we need to complement wind farms and solar arrays with high reliability assets. As we Michiganders know well, the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine in our beautiful state. And that’s why we need natural gas-fueled plants like the Blue Water Energy Center. When it begins operations in 2022, it will represent our single largest step in reducing carbon emissions to date.”
The plant will be built by Kiewit Engineering (MI) Co., a Kiewit company. The company will spend a minimum of $200 million on Michigan-based labor and materials, and has begun the pre-qualification process for local sub-contractors. Additionally, GE Power, a world leader in power generation and water technologies for utilities, independent power producers and industrial applications, has been chosen to provide the major generation equipment. More than 500 Michigan skilled labor jobs will be created during construction beginning in spring 2019 and an additional 35 full-time positions will be filled when the plant becomes operational in 2022.
When the Blue Water Energy Center goes online, it is expected to be the most fuel-efficient power plant in Michigan. It will run on natural gas and use combined-cycle technology that captures waste heat to produce additional electricity. The plant will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 70 percent, other pollutants by 99 percent, and will be 40 percent more efficient than the three coal-fired plants we will retire by 2023. It is a critical component of a balanced energy mix that provides 24/7, always available power generation required when wind turbines and solar arrays are unable to produce electricity due to weather conditions or time of day.
Already a significant producer of renewable energy, DTE has announced plans to double its renewable energy capacity by 2022 to 2,000 megawatts – providing enough electricity to power 800,000 homes, while driving investments of more than $1.7 billion in Michigan. Within the next year, DTE will begin operating the Pine River and Polaris wind parks, which will have a combined capacity of 330 megawatts and be the company’s largest and most efficient wind parks to date.