Michigan’s two largest power companies have agreed to dramatically reduce emissions as part of a plan for having 25 percent of their energy come from renewable sources by 2030, an effort to stave off a move to require more.
Detroit-based DTE Energy said it will reduce carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and by more than 80 percent by 2050. The move includes retirement of its coal-fired power plants in the next few years, and a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions by the early 2020s.
Consumers Energy also said it eventually plans to get to 80 percent renewable sources in its portfolio, with more than 40 percent coming from renewable and stored energy sources by 2040. The Jackson, Mich.-based company said it plans to be no longer using coal by 2040.
The two companies announced the new goals because of a deal with a group called “Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan,” which was planning a ballot campaign to force utilities to get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources in the same time frame, according to a report in PV Magazine, which said that the group will drop its initiative in light of the agreement from the two companies.
The compromise requires the two companies to go further than they otherwise would under current Michigan rules, which requires power utilities to be getting 15 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2021.
“Over the past two years we have studied the engineering and economics of Michigan’s energy future very, very carefully,” said Gerry Anderson, DTE Chairman and CEO. “We have concluded that not only is the 80 percent reduction goal achievable – it is achievable in a way that keeps Michigan’s power affordable and reliable. There doesn’t have to be a choice between the health of our environment or the health of our economy; we can achieve both.”
In addition to renewable sources, DTE said it will also shift much of its current coal use to more efficient natural gas-fired power plants. DTE also said part of its plan relies on a $5 billion upgrade of the electric grid and gas infrastructure. The company, which already retired three coal-fired plants, said it plans to retire three more in the early 2020s. It also touted its investment in a recently-completed solar field, which it says is the largest east of the Mississippi River.
Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy, said the company has already done more than required by state mandates.
“Our actions to date have reduced our carbon intensity by 38 percent, reduced our water usage by 35 percent and avoided over one million cubic yards of landfill disposal,” she said. “We are still not satisfied. The goals announced today represent our further commitment to leave Michigan far better than we found it, because we live here, too.”