November 18, 2019 – This weekend, students across Michigan opened their report cards looking for validation of the hard work they’ve put in so far this year. But they aren’t the only ones being graded. Clean energy, environmental justice and consumer advocacy groups are releasing a report card today for Detroit-based electric utility DTE Energy’s proposed 15-year energy plan.
The report card scores whether DTE’s plan will provide the clean, equitable, and affordable energy its 2.2 million Michigan customers need. The full report card evaluates DTE’s plan on nine criteria:
- Ensuring Equitable Access to Clean Energy Benefits F
- Ensuring Affordable Energy for All Customers D-
- Building Community Power and Developing Local Workforce D
- Protecting Public Health D
- Prioritizing Energy Efficiency C+
- Building A Path to 100% Clean Energy D-
- Retiring Coal Plants C-
- Avoiding Additional Fracked Gas Infrastructure D-
- Lobbying Against the Public Interest A+
DTE Energy submitted their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) in June, which lays out the company’s investment plans for the next 15 years. The Michigan Public Service Commission could vote on the proposal as early as January. The issuing groups are asking the Commission to deny the proposed plan, which would require DTE to reevaluate and submit a new plan next year.
DTE’s report card comes on the heels of a similar report card for nearby Minnesota’s major electric utility, Xcel Energy. Advocates released Xcel’s report card in October, but offered a more positive evaluation of its plan. DTE’s low marks relative to Xcel Energy’s further highlight the plan’s shortcomings.
The organizations behind the report card are encouraging the public to learn more about the resource planning process and provide input through public comment, which will be accepted by the Michigan Public Service Commission until they announce their decision in 2020.
Endorsing groups provided the following statements:
“DTE’s plan intentionally ignores community clean energy in favor of shareholder profit,” said Jackson Koeppel, Executive Director at Soulardarity. “The PSC must reject this self-interested plan and require DTE to try again with health, affordability and community needs at the center.”
“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.”
“Long-term planning is a process required by the state, meant to ensure that utilities meet their customers’ needs in the best way possible, said Ariana Gonzalez, Senior Energy Policy Analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Instead, DTE used the process to design a plan to profit their bottom line at the expense of clean, affordable, reliable energy for families across Michigan.”
"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.”
“If DTE is truly committed to achieving its clean energy targets by the next decade, the company needs to take a serious look at phasing out its remaining coal-fired power plants,” said James Gignac, lead Midwest energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Experts have shown that retiring these plants while ramping up renewable power and energy efficiency programs will save customers money while reducing Michiganders’ air pollution burdens.”
"After decades of investing in polluting coal plants, DTE's proposed plan continues to rely on fossil fuels as a major source of power generation in the company’s energy mix for years to come." said Alexis Blizman, policy director at the Ecology Center. "These fossil fuels emit toxic pollutants into our air and water and negatively impact human health. DTE Energy needs a new plan that moves away from burning fossil fuels and rapidly invests in clean, renewable sources of energy that will reduce illness, rein in health care costs and save lives."
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.