Businesses, clean energy and ratepayer advocates demand state regulators support affordable, clean energy

DTE’s long-term energy plan draws widespread criticism at Detroit public hearing

DETROIT – Clean energy businesses, ratepayer advocacy organizations, conservation leaders and more today called on the Michigan Public Service Commission to ensure DTE Energy makes clean, renewable energy a focus of its long-term energy plan.

“Solar and other clean energy options can affordably and reliably meet Michigan’s energy needs, all while supporting good local jobs, cleaner air to breathe, and a brighter outlook for future generations. That’s why it’s so disappointing to see the utility proposing to spend billions of ratepayer dollars on a backwards plan that would prop up the company’s fossil-fueled profits at the expense of community health and wellbeing,” said Lavannya Pulluveetil Barrera, Access & Equity Program Manager for Vote Solar. “We hope that rather than approving DTE’s dirty plan, the Commission will act in the interests of the many Michiganders who participated in today’s public hearing and who know that healthy clean energy is the right path forward for their families and communities.”

Both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy are required to submit integrated resource plans, which are plans for how they will generate energy for the next 15 years. These plans come at a pivotal time, as many coal plants in Michigan are reaching the end of their lifespan and the cost of clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar, is at an all-time low.

“DTE Energy’s plan fails to seize on the potential of Michigan’s growing clean energy sector, and instead continues a trend of building big, expensive fossil fuel plants,” said Robert Rafson, P.E, president of Charthouse Energy. “We urge the Commission to ensure DTE Energy keeps our state moving toward clean, renewable energy rather than keeping us grounded in the past.”

Consumers Energy’s plan was approved earlier this month. In contrast to DTE’s plan, Consumers Energy plans to build no new natural gas plants and instead will invest in a significant amount of solar energy and energy efficiency. According to a recent Michigan Public Service Commission report, for every dollar spent on energy efficiency programs, customers realize $3.51 in savings.

“It is the Michigan Public Service Commission’s duty to ensure DTE’s plan is in the best interest of ratepayers, and in its current form, that isn’t the case,” said Robert Nelson, president of the Citizens Utility Board of Michigan. “Michigan has the highest energy costs in the Midwest, and that is unacceptable. We call on the Commission to ensure DTE Energy’s plan reins in rising energy costs by aggressively investing in affordable, clean energy and energy efficiency.”

“The affordability and reliability of Michigan’s energy is at risk. DTE is proposing a long-term energy plan that doesn’t fully commit to clean energy, like wind, solar, and energy efficiency and relies too much on the old, dirty, and expensive energy sources that Michiganders don’t want,” said Ariana Gonzalez, senior energy policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“At a time when clean, renewable energy is more affordable than coal and fracked gas, DTE Energy continues to push outdated fossil fuel generation,” said Anne Woiwode, executive committee chair for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “We maintain that DTE’s Belle River plant should retire by 2026 and River Rouge must fully retire in 2020, rather than continuing to operate on polluting industrial waste gas. The Michigan Public Service Commission should send DTE back to the drawing board to come up with a plan that aggressively invests in affordable, clean energy.”