Recommendation looms for DTE Energy plan that advocates and the public have called to reject
Advocates from across Michigan have been calling on the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject DTE Energy’s long-term energy plan as the the case surrounding the plan comes to a close. On Friday, the judge overseeing the case will share her reading of the case and propose a recommendation to the Michigan Public Service Commission, which will give the final ruling early next year.
To date, more than 3,300 Michigan residents have submitted public comments and over 150 people attended the public hearing in June, the vast majority urging the Commission to reject DTE’s plan.
In addition, various health, environmental, conservation and clean energy advocates have also worked to raise awareness of the shortcomings of DTE’s plan and mobilized customers to make their voices heard.
The following are statements from environmental, conservation, consumer and community organizations ahead of the MPSC’s decision:
“In 2019, we experienced two climate disasters, the toxic release from Marathon during the polar vortex and the collapse of a uranium contaminated site due to rising lake levels. Michigan deserves a plan to ensure safe and healthy energy in an age of climate crisis and DTE failed to provide that,” said Michelle Martinez, statewide coordinator for the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition. “We need a bold energy plan not only for black and brown communities on the frontlines, but for all people struggling with rising rates and rising waters.”
“DTE gave solar and wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency and demand response a passing nod, then went ahead and submitted a proposal dependent on dirty coal, outdated technology and old ways of thinking,” said Margrethe Kearney, Michigan Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Other utilities have plans that will send Michigan toward a clean energy future. DTE’s plan threatens to send us backward.”
“DTE’s long range energy plan was riddled with flaws and failed to fully embrace the promise of affordable, clean and renewable energy for Michigan’s residents,” said Charlotte Jameson, Program Director for Legislative Affairs and Energy Policy for Michigan Environmental Council. “The Commission should reject DTE’s IRP and ensure the company comes back to the table with a plan that doesn’t undersell energy waste reduction and renewable energy nor unnecessarily extend the life of expensive, polluting coal plants.”
“DTE’s energy plan will not lower our energy bills, because it does not do enough to boost clean and efficient energy, and it too slowly transitions away from big, expensive fossil fuel plants,” said Nick Occhipinti, government affairs director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “With the threat of climate change looming, it’s time for DTE to turn its words into action and commit to clean energy and energy efficiency instead of building new fossil fuel plants. DTE can do better. With the threat of climate change looming, it’s time for DTE to turn its words into action and commit to clean energy and energy efficiency instead of building new fossil fuel plants. DTE can do better.”
"Air pollution from coal-fired power plants places a disproportionate burden on our most vulnerable citizens: children, seniors and those with serious health conditions,” said Kindra Weid, RN and coalition coordinator of MI Air MI Health. “While DTE plans to reduce some of its coal-powered fleet in the coming years, a significant amount of its energy will continue coming from dirty coal through 2040. We find this unacceptable and encouraged the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject DTE's IRP."
“DTE's long-term energy plan has faced months of input and opposition because it is a chance to redefine Michigan energy,” said Ariana Gonzalez, Senior Energy Policy Analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “We cannot waste this opportunity to ensure Michigan's energy future is clean, affordable and reliable.”
“Instead of protecting clean water, clean air and our communities, DTE chooses to invest in their pocketbooks by doubling down on expensive, polluting fossil fuels," said Theresa Landrum, Detroit resident and activist with Sierra Club. “We call on the Michigan Public Service Commission to reject DTE's polluting energy plan. Alternatively, we ask the MPSC to require them to design a plan that protects Michiganders and those living in the most heavily impacted communities by investing in cheaper and cleaner renewable energy sources, efficiency programs, and storage technology.”
“DTE has offered Michigan residents a false choice in its integrated resource plan by portraying clean energy as inherently in conflict with affordability and reliability,” said James Gignac, Lead Midwest Energy Analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The purpose of the IRP process is to evaluate different alternatives, but DTE sidestepped that to the detriment of its customers, many of whom bear high energy burdens and face costly electricity bills. The Michigan Public Service Commission must ensure the company revises its plan to put cleaner, lower-cost energy sources at the forefront.”
“If DTE is allowed to move forward with this expensive, polluting plan, Michigan will continue to fall behind its neighbors like Minnesota,” said John Delurey, Midwest Director for Vote Solar. “At the end of the day, the costs of our continued dependence on fossil fuels — financial, health and otherwise — fall most heavily on Michigan's disadvantaged and low-income families. That’s not right. The MPSC has a duty to protect everyone from DTE’s reckless proposal.”