US-based large-scale electric utility company DTE Energy has announced the start of commercial operations at its Blue Water Energy Centre.

Blue Water is a 1,150MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant, built on the company’s existing property in East China Township, Michigan, US.

The power facility will provide adequate clean, reliable and affordable power to 850,000 customer households in southeast Michigan, said DTE Energy.

DTE Energy chairman and chief executive officer Jerry Norcia said: “This is a significant step in transforming the way we produce power in a way that is cleaner, while also ensuring we’re generating reliable and affordable electricity for our customers 24/7.

“Natural gas significantly reduces carbon, sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions; utilises an affordable, easily transported and abundant domestic supply; and is the perfect enabler of renewables as it can start-up and shutdown very quickly.”

Construction at the project, which entailed an investment of around $1bn, was officially commenced in 2018 and created over 700 construction jobs in Michigan.

It was completed within the time and budget limits, and supports its efforts to achieve the net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2050, said DTE Energy.

The company targets to transition its 24/7 power sources from coal to natural gas, and add 4,000MW of renewable energy from its Michigan wind and solar farms.

Also, it will continue to operate its zero-emission Fermi 2 power plant, invest in technologies such as hydrogen and battery storage systems, and help its customers reduce energy use.

Furthermore, DTE proposed a pilot programme to study the use of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, in place of natural gas, to enable clean electricity.

Norcia added: “The combination of investments in power generation assets like the Blue Water Energy Center that can run 24/7, plus the expansion of renewables, has helped us achieve a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, and puts us well on our way to meet our goal of 80 per cent reduction by 2040, with net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”