Slowly, painstakingly but inexorably, the traditionally coal-fired utilities of the Midwest are moving to renewable energy, including solar. DTE Energy is the latest to announce a significant investment.
The Detroit-area utility has pledged to add 6 GW of renewable energy to its portfolio by 2050 as part of an effort to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 80%. DTE says it chose 2050 because that’s the date many scientists have said is necessary to address Climate Change.
In addition to adding renewable energy, DTE has pledged to retire 11 of its 24/7 coal plants and replace them with natural gas by the early 2020s. The specific amount of solar DTE plans to add isn’t known at this time, although its solar project DTE recently completed in Lapeer, Michigan, is among the largest solar fields east of the Mississippi River.
“Over the past two years we have studied the engineering and economics of Michigan’s energy future 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.”
DTE says the 6 GW would supply electricity for nearly 2 million homes and would supplement the 1 GW of renewable energy it has installed since 2009. The utility says it has invested more than $2 billion of investment in wind and solar resources.