Michigan’s DTE Energy Will End Coal Use by 2032

A Michigan utility operator has agreed to end its use of coal to generate electricity by 2032, according to a news report authored by Scott McClallen of The Center Square. DTE Energy filed a settlement agreement in the Integrated Resource Plan case currently pending before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The agreement includes many items supported by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The attorney general says the plan will improve service and reliability for Michigan ratepayers.

“This tentative settlement is a win for Michigan ratepayers,” said Nessel. “DTE has agreed to many changes that will help ensure accessibility for low-income residents, improved environmental standards and further transparency on DTE’s lobbying efforts before legislators.”

The settlement agreement includes:

  • DTE ends its use of coal to generate electricity in 2032, nearly a decade earlier than the company had planned. The settlement closes the 4th largest coal-fired power plant in the United States (Monroe coal plant) which is considered the 3rd largest polluter in the country by CO2 emissions. In terms of Michigan-specific benefits, this settlement will result in 21.2 million fewer tons of carbon being emitted compared to the original 20-year period that the coal plant was scheduled to operate.
  • Customers save over $100 million by securitizing at a lower rate of over $1 billion in early retired coal plant assets as well as immediately reducing the return on equity on the currently operating coal plants.
  • DTE donates $38 million; $8 million will fund energy efficiency and renewable projects for low-income customers, while $30 million will be reducing arrearages for low-income customers.
  • DTE will provide an annual public disclosure in October that includes all political contributions made by every DTE entity (parent company, regulated utilities, etc.) which total $5,000 or more in the aggregate. This includes donations made to organizations that qualify as tax-exempt under Sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.
  • DTE commits to apply for any state or federal funding that becomes available for the retirement of the coal plants and pass along the net savings to customers.
  • DTE commits to increasing the distributed generation cap from 1% to 6% which will give more customers the option to own their own renewable energy.
  • DTE will allocate a minimum of $43.8 million to income-qualified electric energy waste reduction programs in 2024 and $53.8 million in 2025 which will help customers lower their monthly electric bills and further reduce carbon emissions.

Integrated Resource Plans are filed at least every five years and provide a 5-, 10- and 15-year projection of a utility’s plan to provide electricity to its customers through various generation resources such as nuclear power plants, coal power plants, natural gas power plants and renewable power plants. DTE filed its plan on November 3, 2022.

The Michigan Public Service Commission is expected to consider the proposed settlement at its next meeting.