Judge says DTE plan falls short
Today an Administrative Law Judge issued a 197-page opinion recommending the Michigan Public Service Commission insist on major revisions to DTE Energy’s “Integrated Resource Plan” – a long range energy plan that lays out how DTE will meet Michigan's energy needs going forward. Environmental and consumer advocates, including the Michigan Environmental Council, argued successfully that DTE’s proposed plan undervalued energy efficiency and renewables while also unnecessarily lengthen the life of old, expensive coal plants.
"Utility IRPs are a significant and crucial planning method to ensure that millions of Michiganders have the most affordable and cleanest energy mix possible, now and into the future,” said Charlotte Jameson, Program Director for Energy at MEC. "Today's recommendation from the ALJ clearly demonstrates that DTE's IRP was flawed and does not present the best path forward for Michigan. We continue to urge the Commission to reject DTE's IRP and require the company to come back and file a new plan that rectifies the numerous errors clean energy and consumer advocates have identified.”
Among ALJ Sally Wallace’s fifteen recommendations to the MPSC was a critical finding that DTE's IRP is "not a workable remedy" and that the company should therefore "be required to file an updated IRP 24-30 months after the Commission issues its order in this case." Additionally, the ALJ also determined that DTE's retirement analysis of the Belle River coal plant was insufficient -- a key argument championed by Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Michigan Environmental Council.
The ALJ also significantly found:
- DTE’s ownership analysis with regards to renewable energy sources should be rejected
- DTE's failure to issue an RFP prior to filing its IPR doesn't meet the requirements of statute
- DTE should update its analysis of energy waste reduction in its next IRP
The recommendations of the ALJ will now be submitted to the Public Service Commission for a final decision by the Commission in early 2020.