- The Michigan Public Service Commission on Thursday gave conditional approval for DTE Energy to purchase three wind projects totaling 455 MW, once they are completed in late 2020.
- DTE is planning to purchase other wind projects as well, but consideration of those projects will be taken up in the utility's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) proceeding, the commission said. DTE officials say this will not have impact their scheduled plans to add new renewables.
- The utility says it has invested more than $2.8 billion in emissions-free energy in the last decade and expects to spend another $2 billion in the next five years.
The three new wind projects will boost DTE's renewable energy portfolio by about 50%, with more clean megawatts on the way. Earlier this year the utility announced plans accelerate its decarbonization efforts and reduce emissions by 80% by 2040.
The three projects include Michigan's largest wind parks, Isabella I and Isabella II, under development by Apex Clean Energy. Those projects are expected to total 383 MW and are located in Isabella County. Construction is expected to begin later this year.
DTE also will purchase the 72 MW Fairbanks Wind from Heritage Sustainable Energy, to be located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
DTE plans to use at least two of the new wind projects to meet the renewable energy needs of its largest commercial and industrial customers, including Ford, General Motors and the University of Michigan, all enrolled in MIGreenPower, DTE's voluntary renewable energy program.
The utility plans to introduce a suite of voluntary renewable energy programs under the MIGreenPower umbrella "designed to meet a wide range of customer interests" by complementing two existing programs, one for residential and small business customers and one for large commercial and industrial customers.
DTE is considering other wind projects, but construction on those projects isn't expected to begin until 2021 and 2022, meaning they won't qualify for the full federal production tax credit.
"Since the parks won't qualify for the full federal tax credit, right now the commission can't assess the actual economics of those projects," said DTE spokesperson Cynthia Hecht.
DTE has 14 days to accept the PSC's decision, or it will need to refile its renewable energy proposal by Nov. 1 — and the approval of the wind park purchases would be nullified. The utility expects its IRP "will be wrapped up in early 2020," DTE Director of Renewable Energy Dave Harwood told Utility Dive.