The utility’s new strategy will shutter the 3,400-megawatt Monroe coal plant in 2032, three years ahead of schedule. That move will bring an end to DTE‘s use of coal power, which supplied 77 percent of its electricity as of 2005. DTE will also develop 15 gigawatts of in-state renewable power by 2042balanced by an expansion of energy storage to 780 megawatts by 2030 and 1,800 megawatts by 2042.
Earthjustice attorney Shannon Fisk called the Monroe plant the “third-largest climate polluter in the country”; in its next long-term resource plan, DTE will examine closing it even earlier, in 2030.
Since renewables have become so economical relative to fossil fuels, the utility’s accelerated embrace of clean energy will save a considerable amount of money, in addition to reducing emissions.
“We are also proud of this plan that puts our customers first by reducing the future costs of our clean energy transformation by $2.5 billion, while reliably generating cleaner, affordable energy now, and for generations to come.” CEO Jerry Norcia said in a statement.
The resource plan reflects utilities’ growing appetite for a renewables-heavy future. DTE started with wind and solar development, and it now calls itself “Michigan’s largest producer of and investor in renewable energy.” After seeing first hand how the technologies work, the company grew comfortable speeding up the pace of clean energy deployment, which in turn has made it possible to close coal plants ahead of schedule and still ensure a reliable grid.
Should the Michigan government enact a 2035 carbon-free standard, the utility — and all the others in the state — would have to introduce new plans to meet the goal. In other words, DTE may have to ratchet up its clean energy plans yet again in the near future.