DTE Energy Co. said this week it would move forward with a 1,100 MW natural gas-fired power plant after filing a certificate of necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for the nearly $1 billion project.
Pending regulatory approval, the company expects to break ground by 2019 as part of its plans to retire three coal-fired power plants in the state by 2023 and add more natural gas and renewables into its generating portfolio. The facility, which would be built in St. Clair County's East China Township, would provide power for 850,000 homes in 2022 when it's scheduled to begin operations.
DTE announced last year that it would close three of its five coal-fired power plants in the state. The company, which serves 2.2 million electric utility customers in southeastern Michigan, plans to close the River Rouge, St. Clair and Trenton Channel facilities between 2020 and 2023. The new gas-fired facility, which according to DTE would be the state's most efficient power plant if built, is part of its plans to reduce carbon emission by 30% by the early 2020s and by more than 80% by 2050. DTE plans to eventually produce more than three-quarters of its power from renewables and natural gas.
"This filing with the MPSC includes nearly a year of research and a competitive bidding process that determined building a natural gas-fired plant is the best solution for our customers due to many factors, including the environment, reliability and affordability," said DTE Electric’s COO Trevor Lauer.
The company plans to hit its emissions targets by adding 4,000 MW of renewable energy from wind and solar farms, transitioning its baseload power sources from coal to natural gas and continuing to operate its Fermi 2 nuclear power plant.
DTE unveiled plans for more gas-fired power plants late last year shortly after it acquired two natural gas gathering systems in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for $1.3 billion. DTE purchased the Appalachian Gathering System and a 40% stake in the Stonewall Gathering System, assets with access to the Great Lakes through interconnections with the Columbia Gas Transmission system, Texas Eastern Transmission and the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline, which is being developed by DTE and Enbridge Inc.
DTE also recently acquired the 732 MW gas-fired Renaissance Power Plant in Carson City, MI, and the 350 MW gas-fired Dean Peaker Plant in East China Township.