Clean Energy Is the Better Option

DTE Energy is seeking approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to build a $1 billion, 1,100 MW natural gas plant in East China Township, Michigan. According to the plan, construction on the plant would start in 2019 with operations beginning in 2022, coinciding with the retirement of the Belle River coal plant at the same site.

On January 12, the MPSC began reviewing arguments for and against the new gas plant. Led by the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Ecology Center partnered with Union of Concerned Scientists, Vote Solar, and the Solar Energy Industries Association to intervene in the case.  DTE is seeking to justify passing on the costs of the $1 billion gas plant to ratepayers by arguing that it is necessary to meet its customers’ power and reliability needs.  However, expert analysis, submitted by our partners has shown that a mix of clean energy alternatives can meet DTE’s customer needs for significantly less money, while also protecting public health, the environment, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

Burning natural gas creates pollution from the point of extraction, through transportation, and finally, once the gas is burned, the smokestacks release smog-causing pollutants into the air causing health problems and exacerbating climate change over the long-term.  A cheaper and cleaner mix of additional renewable energy, energy efficiency, and demand response is a viable alternative to DTE’s gas plant and will generate more economical, environmental, and public health benefits for Michigan.

As the case moves forward at the MPSC, the Ecology Center has joined with our partners to call on DTE Energy to consider clean energy alternatives to its proposed natural gas plant.  

Photo credit: By Mscalora (Own work) [GFDL (]

Published on February 27, 2018