- DTE Energy expects the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which will require Michigan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) 32% below 2005 levels by 2030, will impose “sweeping changes” on the utility.
- To comply, DTE expects to have to cut its own emissions by 40% from its coal-heavy generation fleet and replace most of its older coal plants with natural gas facilities, which produce half the GHGs. DTE is also considering adding nuclear and wind generation.
- The communities that host Michigan’s coal plants welcome the cleaner local air, local officials told the Times Herald, but they are concerned about possible job losses. DTE coal facilities may provide one job for every 4 megawatts to 5 megawatts of capacity while its natural gas facilities may only provide a job per every 15 megawatts of capacity.
DTE plans to reduce its employee load as much as possible by attrition and said the severity of the economic impact depends on the timeline EPA’s final plan imposes.
Though it may be delayed by legal challenges, the final EPA rule is due in June of 2015. States will then have until perhaps 2017 to get their specific compliance plans approved. A 2020 interim deadline means, according to DTE, that states will have to be near 70% of their targets by the early 2020s.
"If this sudden cliff in 2020 is still in the regulation, that action will be quick and probably much more disruptive," DTE Vice President Skiles Boyd said.