Newsletter: DTE Files Application for New 1100MW Natural Gas Plant

This newsletter was originally published on August 4, 2017.

DTE Files Application for New 1100MW Natural Gas Plant

On August 1, DTE Energy filed a Certificate of Necessity (CON) with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to build a 1,100 MW combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant in East China Township in St. Clair County, where DTE already operates a coal-fired power plant. The cost for the new plant is expected to be $1 billion, and DTE hopes to have the plant online by 2022. DTE submitted over 1000 pages of information to the MPSC to review and to consider the CON, including an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).

In the IRP, DTE argues the most reasonable and prudent path is to achieve 1.5% energy waste reduction savings, to obtain 15% of its energy from renewable resources by 2021 – consistent with the statutory minimum, to add 125 MW of demand response, and to build the 1100 MW combined cycle gas turbine in order to make up for coal plants being retired. In its application, DTE expects PURPA contracts to decline to 100 MW by 2022.

The IRP – a required step for a certificate of necessity – is being submitted prior to the MPSC completing an extensive stakeholder process to outline the IRP parameters under the new 2016 legislation. The next step in the MPSC IRP planning effort is three public hearings in September around the state in Grand Rapids, Livonia, and Marquette.

If the MPSC approves DTE’s application, DTE would be guaranteed rate-recovery of the costs involved, a necessary step in order to obtain the financing necessary for this type of project. A prehearing conference has been scheduled for September 7, 2017; interested interveners ordinarily must file petitions to intervene not less than seven days prior to the initial prehearing conference. The MPSC has 270 days to respond, adding to an already very full plate of issues.

Bill Would Create Federal Regulations for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicle legislation is gaining momentum the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The legislation, which would make AV regulation a federal issue rather than a state issue, has also won early praise from industry groups.

According to Morning Consult, the bill would “allow manufacturers to produce a limited number of approved vehicles that do not meet current safety standards for testing and development”, while at the same time prohibiting states regulating AVs’ mechanics or software.

This federal regulatory framework is important because manufacturers look to the federal government for a definitive regulatory standard rather than relying on a “patchwork” of state rules, says Aaron Jacoby, chair of national law firm Arent Fox LLP’s automotive industry practice group.

This bill is similar to a senate bill currently being drafted by Sens. John Thune (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Bill Nelson (D-FL). The Senate version of the bill has not yet been made public.

Michigan Energy News:

News from Washington:

National Grid & Efficiency News:

National Solar News:

National Wind News:

National Fossil Fuel and Nuclear News:

National Technology & Market News:

National Vehicle & Mobility News:

Michigan Energy Events:
The MPSC will host a technical conference on the future of electric vehicle charging on August 9 at the public service commission office, 7109 W. Saginaw Highway, Lansing.

SAVE THE DATE: The Powering Mobility conference will take place on September 25 at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The event, which is the 4th Annual Michigan Energy Future Conference, will bring together leaders from industry, government, utilities, finance, and academe working at the nexus of advanced mobility and vehicle electrification.

The 1st Annual Sustainable Detroit Forum is scheduled for October 25. The event will consist of interactive learning, keynotes, and short presentations. Proposals for presentations will be accepted for Sustainable ProjectsPersonal Green Stories, and Lessons Learned/Greatest Failures.

National Energy Events:
Energy Storage North America will take place August 8-10 in San Diego. As the largest conference and expo for grid-connected energy storage in North America, Energy Storage North America brings together utilities, regulators, municipal leaders, project developers, investors, systems integrators, and commercial and industrial customers for top-tier networking and information sharing.

EUCI is hosting “Addressing Process and Technical Issues for Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources” August 14-15 in Chicago. The conference will serve as a forum for all entities involved in the interconnection process to review process and technical issues for interconnecting grid-scale renewable energy and Distributed Energy Resource (DER) projects. Panel sessions will feature the perspectives of distribution, developers, utilities, and system operators to share their expertise and discuss best practices for optimizing the interconnection process. Register here.

Mark your calendars for the Catalysts of the Climate Economy summit in Burlington, Vermont, September 6-8. This event will focus on ways to accelerate economic development for a low-carbon future. The event will feature speakers, round-table discussions, and other forums with entrepreneurs, investors, and thoughts leaders. Speakers include EIBC member company Generate Capital’s Jigar Shah; Danny Kennedy of the CA Clean Energy Fund; Carol Browner, Former Climate and Energy Czar in the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy; and CEOs and leaders from Patagonia, Green Mountain Power, Stonyfield Yogurt, General Motors, Seventh Generation, Ben and Jerry’s, Fetzer Vineyards, Proterra, Generation Investment Management, and more!

Solar Power International will take place September 10-13 in Las Vegas. Powered by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Smart Electric Power Alliance, SPI is the largest and fastest growing solar show in North America.

Renewable Energy Grid Operations: Integration, Forecasting, Modeling, Planning and Curtailment, hosted by EUCI, is scheduled for September 11-12 in Austin, Texas. This conference will evaluate the biggest challenges to renewable energy integration, and identify solutions and pathways that coordinate responses and overcome these challenges. Case studies from experts and industry professionals from around the country will share their experiences and lessons learned on renewable integration. Register here.

ACORE Finance West will take place in San Francisco on October 12. The annual conference highlights top investment opportunities and provide the latest insights on the financing of renewable energy and grid modernization efforts in leading western markets.

Join SEIA and Smart Electric Power Alliance for Solar Power Midwest in Chicago, October 19-20. The event features multiple networking and educational opportunities with a targeted, buying audience.

The 2017 U.S. Power and Renewables Summit will take place in Austin on November 7-8. The conference, hosted by Greentech Media, provides an in-depth look at how solar, wind, and related renewable energy technologies are impacting power markeys, and how this interaction is raising key questions and challenges for the industry moving forward.

The U.S. Energy Storage Summit 2017 is taking place December 12-13 in San Francisco. Now in its third year, this event brings together utilities, financiers, regulators, technology innovators, and storage practitioners for two full days of data-intensive presentations, analyst-led panel sessions with industry leaders, and extensive, high-level networking.

Additional Resources:
A website from the Michigan Public Service Commission provides details on updates to state energy laws. For more information, or to sign up for notifications, visit

World Resources Institute recently published an Implementation Guide for Utilities, outlining best practices in designing renewable energy projects to meet large energy customers’ needs.

ARPA-E announced up to $20 million in funding for high efficiency Distributed Generation systems to reduce the cost and increase the energy efficiency associated with providing electric power to commercial and industrial end users. Additional information, including the full FOA and how to find project teaming partners, is available on ARPA-E’s online application portal, ARPA-E eXCHANGE.