By: Skiles Boyd, DTE Energy vice president Environmental Management and Resources  

September 2019 certainly didn’t start the discussion on climate change, but it did help move it forward.  Young people around the globecorporations, energy companiescities and towns began talking in earnest about a zero carbon emissions a goal by 2050. DTE Energy celebrated Clean Energy Week by setting a goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. In other words, electric use by Michigan customers of the future will not contribute to climate change.   

DTE is the largest energy company in the state and its transition to cleaner electric power generation is already well underway. Earlier this year, the company accelerated its commitment by 10 years to reduce carbon emissions 80% by 2040.  

Tangible Progress 

DTE is doing as much as it can, as fast as it can, to keep energy reliable and affordable while on this journey to reduce its carbon footprint. Carbon emissions today are down 19% from 2005 levels. By 2022, DTE will have reduced CO2 emissions by about 34%, or 15 million tons per year less than in our baseline year of 2005.   

Investing in Renewable Energy 

As Michigan’s clean energy leader, DTE Energy is on pace to triple its renewable capacity in the next 10 years and has developed the largest wind and solar installations in the Midwest. To date, the company has invested $2.9 billion in Michigan-made renewables and expects to double that in the next five years. 

Moving Forward 

DTE’s electric company plans to reach its net zero emissions target in part through the retirement of coal plants, robust renewable energy investments, energy efficiency enhancements, and by partnering with others to promote new and improved technology and good federal and state policy.  DTE’s natural gas utility has also pledged to reduce methane emissions 80% by 2040. 

Embracing New Technologies 

DTE will work with state and federal policy makers to advocate for focused research on carbon offset, capture and storage technologies and supportive policies. The energy company is also committing to playing a leading role in the development of technologies that can reduce emissions, including but not limited to:  

  • Carbon sequestration;  
  • Large-scale storage;and 
  • Modular nuclear facilities

Reliability and Affordability 

Technology advances will play a critical role in ensuring we can achieve our net zero aspiration in a way that protects reliability and affordability for our customers. In addition, building a more robust and technically advanced distribution infrastructure will enable Michigan to support an expansion in electric vehicles, strategic distributed generation and storage technology, and the sustainability initiatives of our customers.  Moving aggressively toward clean energy solutions will drive job growth in a greener economy.   

Reaching Beyond the Energy Industry 

And as the power supplier to the auto capital of the world, DTE will provide zero emission power to factories and engineering centers producing some of the nation’s most popular vehicles. In addition to supplying renewable power to the auto sector, DTE can help the auto industry eliminate tailpipe emissions as the company works with suppliers to build EV charging infrastructure and encourage EV sales through charging station incentives – allowing Michigan drivers to lead the way in reducing C02 tailpipe emissions to zero.