- Michigan’s DTE Energy asked regulators to approve reduced residential electricity rates because the cost of the wind energy in its resource portfolio is falling, Clean Technica reports.
- If the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) approves, DTE will eliminate a monthly $0.43 renewables surcharge on 2.1 million customers, amounting to $15 million in consumer savings per year. The original $3 per month surcharge was lowered to its current level in 2014, and Consumers Energy, the other Michigan investor owned utility, has also eliminated its $0.53 per month surcharge.
- The surcharge was authorized in 2009 along with Michigan’s 10% by 2015 renewables mandate, to cover utility costs. With the utilities reducing customer bills through their increased use of lower-cost wind energy-generated electricity, Michigan’s Governor and legislators are considering a proposed 20% renewables by 2022 mandate.
New wind technology like taller towers and longer blades is allowing the economic harvest of wind speeds as low as 8 miles per hour, opening previously untenable sites to development. It is also allowing wind developers to get capacity factors exceeding 50% in places like Michigan previously considered to have only modest potential, according to American Wind Energy Association Deputy Director Emily Williams.
“In states like Michigan, we’re absolutely seeing a wind rush," she said.
As the result of the new technologies and new transmission capacity in the state’s windy Thumb Region, DTE Energy had the tenth highest total of new wind capacity (186.8 MW) of any U.S. utility in 2014, owned the seventh highest installed wind capacity (400 MW) among U.S. electric utilities, and had the eighth highest installed capacity (863 MW) among U.S. investor-owned utilities.
The Michigan PSC reported earlier this year that the cost of wind power in Michigan had fallen to $47–$53 per MWh, half the price of electricity generated by the burning of coal.