DTE Energy Gears Up for a Greener Future, Accelerating Closure of Coal-Fired Monroe Power Plant



DTE Energy Gears Up for a Greener Future, Accelerating Closure of Coal-Fired Monroe Power Plant

July 27 - In a groundbreaking move towards sustainability, Detroit-based DTE Energy, a major electricity provider for southeast Michigan, received approval from the state regulatory board to move forward with its plan to retire the coal-fired Monroe Power Plant in 2032. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) greenlit DTE's integrated resource plan (IRP) 2-0 during its meeting, marking a significant step towards a cleaner energy future.


Initially, DTE had proposed to keep the Monroe Power Plant operational until 2035, but in a landmark settlement, the company agreed to accelerate the plant's

closure. The agreement was endorsed by DTE, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office, and several environmental conservation groups.


Michigan law requires utility companies to submit IRPs to the MPSC for review and approval every five years. These plans serve as roadmaps outlining the utility companies' energy generation forecasts over the next two decades. DTE's previous IRP was approved by the commission in 2020.


The settlement will facilitate the retirement of two coal-burning units, 3 and 4, at the Monroe Power Plant by 2028, and units 1 and 2 will be retired by 2032.


The shift towards phasing out coal-burning for energy generation aligns with Michigan's ambition to become a "carbon-neutral" state, minimizing carbon emissions as much as possible and employing offsets such as reforestation or improved power plant efficiency to address the remaining emissions.


The Monroe Power Plant, a significant CO2 polluter in the U.S., will see its closure brought forward from the original 2040 target, resulting in an estimated 21.2 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions.


In addition to the accelerated closure of the Monroe Power Plant, the approved IRP calls for several other key measures:


1. Converting the Belle River Power Plant from coal to gas by 2028, enhancing its capacity to handle peak energy demands.


2. Pursuing state and federal grants for coal plant retirements to ensure savings for ratepayers.


3. Allocating $38 million in donations, including $30 million to reduce low-income customers' arrearages and $8 million for organizations supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for low-income customers.


4. Requiring annual public disclosures of political donations exceeding $5,000 from Oct. 1 to Aug. 31 of the previous year, promoting transparency and accountability.


5. Increasing the distributed generation cap from 1% to 6%, enabling more ratepayers to explore individual energy generation projects like solar panels.


6. Securitizing over $1 billion in assets from the retiring Monroe and Belle River plants, allowing investors to purchase shares of the phased-out assets' value.


The comprehensive plan is set to drive $11 billion of investments in clean energy over the next decade while delivering substantial cost savings to customers. By retiring the Monroe Power Plant early and embracing renewable energy, tax credits, and reduced operating and fuel costs, DTE anticipates saving customers $2.5 billion.


Environmental advocates hailed the settlement as a major milestone, notably locking in the retirement of one of the country's leading climate polluters, the Monroe coal plant.


As DTE Energy steers towards a greener path, Michigan witnesses a transformative shift in its energy landscape, positioning itself as a beacon of sustainable progress and environmental responsibility. The accelerated closure of the Monroe Power Plant marks a significant stride towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for all.

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