Letter: DTE is committed to the environment and Michigan's economy

The Detroit News

DTE Energy is, has been, and always will be pro-renewable energy (Re: "DTE’s energy plan too flawed for approval," Nov. 22).

We firmly believe this is the right thing to do for our customers, communities, and to create a cleaner environment. We are doing as much as we can, as fast as we can, to provide our customers and the state of Michigan with clean energy that is affordable and reliable. 

Since 2009, DTE has been the largest investor in renewables in Michigan, driving $2.8 billion in solar and wind infrastructure and investments which deliver power to serve more than 500,000 households.

Over the next decade, we will triple our renewable energy assets, generating enough energy from wind and solar to power more than 1.3 million homes with clean energy. Our renewable energy investments also have been the catalyst for 4,000 clean energy jobs in the state and these investments are part of the $9.2 billion we have spent with Michigan-based suppliers since 2010.

In two years, we will retire three large coal-fired plants in River Rouge, Trenton and St. Clair. These plants represent nearly 2,000 megawatts or about 20% of the generating capacity used to serve the peak energy needs of our customers. To help backfill these retirements, in addition to our investments in renewables, we are building one of the most efficient and cleanest natural gas plants in the country. It will emit about 70% less carbon per kilowatt hour than the three retiring coal plants and generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, which is vital to maintaining reliability — ensuring that our customers have power when the wind doesn’t blow, and the sun doesn’t shine.  

Through these efforts, we have already reduced carbon emissions 25% since 2005 and we will further cut emissions in half over the next 10 years.

DTE also places a strong emphasis on affordability as we work to increase customer access to clean energy options. That's why we developed MIGreenPower, an easy, affordable and flexible program that allows customers to invest in renewable energy through a simple sign-up. Customers can enroll in this program without having to undertake expensive solar panel installations at their homes. Based on our calculations, MIGreenPower saves customers nearly $7,000 when compared to a typical 25-year residential solar system contract.

There has been significant customer interest in MIGreenPower over the past two years, and the program is on pace to be one of the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the country. Since 2017, almost ten thousand residential and small business customers have enrolled in this program. Many of our largest customers, including Ford, GM, the University of Michigan and the Detroit Zoo, have embraced the program to meet their own sustainability goals and clean energy targets.

We are proud of our strong track record in taking actions to accelerate Michigan’s transition to a clean energy economy and remain committed to our goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We invite everyone to come along on this journey to secure a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.

There is no better time than now to work together to power a cleaner energy future for Michigan.   

Irene Dimitry, vice president of renewable energy

DTE Energy