DTE Energy Company (DTE Energy), a company engaged in energy business, has proposed a renewable energy and energy optimization programs to the Michigan Public Service Commission. The new programs will drastically increase the amount of renewable energy produced in the state and set up broad-based energy efficiency programs for the company’s customers. The proposal include 1,200 megawatts (WM) of the renewable energy plan.
These ambitious proposals represent a significant investment in Michigan’s energy future, stated Anthony F. Earley, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of DTE Energy. Comprehensive energy legislation enacted last year has provided a framework for us to move forward with the development of renewable energy, as well as efficiency programs that will enable customers to save energy and money.
Public Act 295, which was passed by Michigan legislature in October 2008, calls for the state’s electric utilities to serve 10% of their retail sales with the renewable energy by 2015. To meet this goal, the company’s March 4, 2009 filing proposes adding 1,200 megawatts of the renewable energy. The company is planning to construct the renewable energy projects to meet about half of this capacity, and contract with the third-party producers for the rest.
The company anticipates the majority of its renewable energy to come from the wind resources, with a small portion, about 20 megawatts, coming from two proposed solar energy pilot projects. In preparation for developing its renewable energy plan, the company has acquired easements on over 50,000 acres of land in Huron County in Michigan’s Thumb region for the development of a large-scale wind farm.
We are very excited about the role renewable energy will play in our future energy portfolio, stated Earley. DTE Energy has been gathering wind, wildlife and other environmental data in the Thumb area for more than a year, and everything we have seen shows promise for wind power development in the region.
The company’s filing also proposes a series of the energy efficiency programs to help residential, commercial and industrial customers decrease their gas and electric usage and save money on their energy bills. The energy optimization initiatives filed by company would encourage the residential customers to recycle older, energy-wasting appliances, and offer incentives for purchase of Energy Star appliances and energy efficient heating and the cooling equipment. Commercial and the industrial customers would get incentives for constructing energy efficient buildings and deploying energy efficient equipment and controls.
Other initiatives proposed by the company incorporate programs to help low income households with the energy efficiency measures, incentives for construction of new Energy Star homes, and plans to provide energy audits on existing structures. The audits would focus on the basic energy-saving measures, and incorporate items such as compact fluorescent lights, low flow shower heads and programmable thermostats.
Under Public Act 295, the utilities are committed to assuring that surcharges for implementing renewable energy program do not exceed $3 a month for the residential customers. The company also has proposed the energy efficiency surcharges that would average about 85 cents a month for typical Detroit Edison residential customer and $1.20 a month for a typical MichCon residential customer. The charges could start appearing on utility bills in 2010, following approval of the programs.
Meeting Michigan’s future energy needs in a manner that is environmentally responsible and affordable for customers is a delicate balance, stated Earley. The Michigan legislature, through this progressive energy policy, has provided a framework for DTE Energy to move forward with a sensible program for clean, renewable energy options, and an array of energy efficiency programs that will allow customers to save money for years to come.