- Pressed by the threat of a ballot initiative to require more renewable energy, Michigan's two largest utilities jointly announced on Friday that they are "targeting at least a 50 percent Clean Energy Goal by 2030," with specifics to be included in their upcoming Integrated Resource Plans.
- The utilities say they will reach most of the goal through efficiency initiatives, but at least 25% of the result will come from renewable energy.
- Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge fund manager and environmental activist, funded a petition drive for a ballot initiative this November to require 30% of Michigan utilities' electricity sales to come from renewable sources by 2030. The grassroots campaign said it will not be filing the more than 350,000 signatures collected, The Detroit News reported.
Supporters of the ballot initiative have agreed to stand down, and the utilities cited the petition efforts in their statement.
“We appreciate that Tom Steyer and the sponsors of Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan have taken the time to understand our commitment to carbon reduction and how Michigan’s energy plan puts the tools in place to achieve this goal in a thoughtful and affordable manner," the heads of the two utilities said in a joint statement.
Both companies "are overwhelmingly in favor of renewable energy and are focused on bringing additional energy efficiency opportunities to our customers," DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson and Consumers Energy CEO Patti Poppe wrote.
The decision highlights the potential potency of energy-issue ballot initiatives, which have recently been seen in Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
Earlier this year, DTE proposed doubling the utility's renewable capacity by 2022, largely through the addition of large scale wind resources. The utility says its plan would drive $1.7 billion in investment and grow its renewable energy capacity from 1 GW to 2 GW.
DTE is working to cut carbon emissions by more than 80% by 2050. Consumers is targeting that same reduction by 2040.