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After serving the Downriver community for nearly 100 years, DTE is demolishing its Trenton Channel Power Plant to pave the way for future redevelopment. Retired in 2022, the plant was originally built to address the needs of an expanding economy post World War I and was the fourth major power plant Detroit Edison put into operation during the 1920’s. DTE is proud of the plant’s years of service and excited about the property’s future opportunities.  

This blog will serve as a resource for information about the demolition, so please bookmark this site so you can check back for updates. 

Here’s what you need to know about the demolition process 

The demolition will happen in two phases. While March 1 had been targeted for the stack demolition, the schedule has changed. The team is currently working through a revised schedule, and we will notify the community when a new target date is available. The current target date for the boiler house demolition is May 17. DTE will be sending you periodic updates and will notify residents who live within a two-mile radius of the plant the day before each demolition.    

Here’s what you can expect on the demolition days 
  • DTE anticipates limited inconvenience to area residents.  
  • Demolition will last less than one minute. During this time, nearby residents may hear a short series of loud noises similar to thunder. 
  • Residents near the project site may detect some mild vibration during the demolition. 
  • Any temporary dust created by the demolition will dissipate within a few minutes. 
  • Immediately prior to demolition, vehicle and pedestrian traffic will be briefly interrupted on Grosse Ile Parkway and West Jefferson Avenue. No other major road closures are planned.  
  • We do not anticipate any interruption to residential utility services.   
Here’s how we’re making your safety our number one priority 

DTE has taken the following measures to ensure protections are in place to minimize environmental risks:  

  • Hazardous materials have been properly disposed of according to state and federal regulations and have been verified by a third-party, State of Michigan licensed inspector. 
  • Air and seismic monitoring will be installed around the site and on Grosse Ile.  
  • All work is being coordinated with local emergency response and regulatory agencies. 
  • Pressurized water misters will be used to mitigate dust. 
  • Cleaning crews will be onsite to address any excessive dust at the property. 
Feb. 22 virtual town hall meeting

DTE held a virtual town hall meeting via Microsoft Teams at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 to discuss the project. View a recording of the meeting, here.  

Please direct any additional questions to Trenton@dteenergy.com. A member of our team will respond within two business days. 

A short history of the Trenton Channel Power Plant 

The Trenton Channel Power Plant began operating in 1924. The plant had six turbine generators with 13 coal-fired boilers. The sixth and last turbine generator arrived by 1929. At that time, Trenton Channel was the largest project Detroit Edison had undertaken, and the first plant to use pulverized coal as fuel rather than the older style stoker-fired beds of coal. The use of pulverized fuel paved the way for combustion efficiency improvements and new coal preparation technologies. To limit the amount of ash particulate emissions, Trenton Channel was the first electric power plant in the world to use electrostatic precipitators. Since that time no power plants have been built without using that emission control technology. 

In 1950, a second plant started up at Trenton Channel and adjoined the first plant. It had two turbine generators fed by four boilers. The boilers ran at higher steam conditions than the first plant. Therefore, the first plant became known as the “low side,” while the newer plant was known as the “high side.” Two short smokestacks released gases from the four boilers.  

In 1968, Unit 9 was placed into service. It was a turbine generator fed by a single boiler and adjoined the high-side plant. One 563-foot-tall stack was used for this unit. Soon afterward, another stack, identical to the Unit 9 stack, was erected to replace the two short stacks on the high-side plant.  

By the mid-1970s, the low-side plant was decommissioned, and the boiler house was eventually demolished. 

The high-pressure side has the distinction of being the last major plant facility completely designed and constructed by Detroit Edison manpower. DTE retired the Trenton Channel Power Plant in 2022.