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After Acquiring Appalachian Midstream Assets, DTE Plans NatGas Power Plants in Michigan

DTE Energy Co. plans to build natural gas-fired power plants in Michigan to replace coal-fired plants it intends to retire there by 2023.

The company, which serves 2.2 million electric customers and 1.2 million natural gas customers in Michigan, said it would invest up to $1.5 billion in the new generating assets. The plants would provide 1,000 MW, or enough for 850,000 homes.

Company spokesman Brian Corbett said for now DTE intends to build one facility, but he added that there could be more. A preliminary analysis, he said, has identified property next to the company's coal-fired Belle River power plant in St. Clair County's China Township in the eastern part of the state for the natural gas-fired facility. The company expects to complete the project between 2021 and 2023.

In June, DTE said it would retire three of its five coal plants in the state. The new generating capacity would add to the company's recent acquisitions of the 732 MW natural gas-fired Renaissance Power Plant in Carson City and the 350 MW natural gas-fired Dean Peaker Plant in East China Township.

The company made its announcement just days after it said it would acquire two natural gas gathering systems in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for $1.3 billion in a deal expected to close in October (see Shale DailySept. 27). DTE said it would buy the Appalachian Gathering System and a 40% stake in the Stonewall Gathering System from M3 Appalachia Holdings LLC. The company would also purchase an additional 15% stake in Stonewall from Vega Energy Partners Ltd.

DTE said those assets would provide access to multiple markets, including 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 with Spectra Energy Corp. Nexus would move 1.5 Bcf/d of Marcellus and Utica shale gas from eastern Ohio into Michigan and onto the Midwest and Canada.

"Overall, these activities, the gathering system purchase and the gas generation plant, are interconnected and part of DTE's long-term energy plans," said company spokesman Peter Ternes. He added that the company has existing natural gas infrastructure and storage in the region where the new plant would be built.

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