Michigan’s largest utility agrees to raise distributed generation cap by 5%


On July 12, Michigan utility DTE Energy agreed to a landmark settlement of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). Signatories to the agreement are Vote Solar, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Ecology, represented by the Center for Environmental Law and Policy, collectively known as the Clean Energy Organizations. If approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), the agreement would shut down the polluting Monroe coal plant years ahead of the current plan, add nearly 3.8 GW of renewable energy to the grid by 2030, and spur the acceleration of equitable clean energy solutions. 2.3 million DTE customers.

“Today’s agreement is a step forward in Michigan’s clean energy transition and a beacon of what’s possible when policy know-how, regulatory expertise and community voices align,” said Will Kenworthy, Vote Solar’s Midwest Director. the senior regulatory director. “The progress presented in the settlement simply would not have been possible without a strong coalition that recognized the need to focus justice and put people first. That said, we cannot rest on our laurels. We look to the Michigan Legislature to advance the bold clean energy agenda that Michigan residents have made clear they are ready for.”

One provision is to increase the distributed generation threshold in DTE’s service area from 1% to 6%. Michigan’s 1% state cap on distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar, remains one of the strictest in the nation. It has long been criticized by activists, the solar industry and lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Last year, Clean Energy organizations successfully negotiated a 2% increase in distributed generation at Michigan’s other major utility, Consumers Energy. The bill to eliminate the distributed generation cap is one of several pieces of clean energy legislation that advocates are urging lawmakers to pass when they return to Lansing in the fall.

The agreement also includes a 2032 closure date for the Monroe coal-fired power plant, the nation’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This 2032 closure would occur seven years ahead of DTE’s current plan and three years earlier than what was originally proposed in the IRP. DTE also agrees to consider 2030 in its next IRP. The expert analysis estimates that the regulation would avoid $432 million to $972 million in total health care costs and 39 to 87 premature deaths that would otherwise be caused by burning coal in units by 2035 under DTE’s original proposal. In addition, ceasing to burn coal at DTE’s Belle River plant in 2025-2026, as opposed to the current closing date of 2028, would prevent 71 to 159 premature deaths annually when the plant does not burn coal.

“A rapid transition away from coal and a greater commitment to renewable energy is an absolute necessity as we transition to a healthy clean energy future,” said Alexis Blissman, policy director at the Ecology Center. “The rapid phase-out of coal, replaced by clean renewable energy, will have far-reaching impacts on air quality and public health. There is no doubt that this will save lives.”

As an additional condition of the settlement, DTE Energy agrees to contribute $38 million to organizations and programs designed to provide bill payment assistance and energy improvements to low-income families. DTE customers already face steep energy bills, with poor households paying a disproportionate percentage of their household income.

Of that $38 million, $8 million will help implement home improvement, energy efficiency, distributed generation and energy conservation programs for low-income communities.

“DTE’s $8 million investment to finance renewable energy investments in low-income communities is, frankly, exciting,” said Daniel Abrams, associate director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy. “This will help address two important concerns of our customers. First, that low-income Michigan families will be provided with sustainable, sustainable means to reduce their energy costs. Second, the clean energy revolution leaves no one behind.”

DTE Energy’s proposed IRP was submitted in November 2022. Since then, hundreds of Michigan residents have weighed in on the proposed plan through written comments or testimony at public hearings. In March, Clean Energy organizations filed expert testimony outlining an alternative to the IRP.

“We proved that DTE’s proposed plan was not inevitable, and that there is a cleaner, more flexible, fairer way,” said James Gignac, senior policy manager for the Midwest Union of Concerned Scientists. “While we are pleased with the settlement offer in this case, there is still much work ahead. The Michigan Legislature must build on DTE’s progress and take swift and meaningful action to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy statewide to achieve the equitable, fossil-free Michigan we know is possible.”

News from Vote Solar!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *