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DTE Celebrates Clean Energy Week with Focus on Business Customers and Students

image credit: DTE Energy
Brian Calka's picture
Director, Renewable Energy Solutions DTE Energy

Brian Calka, the director of renewable energy solutions at DTE Energy, with responsibility of MIGreenPower, the utility's voluntary renewable energy program.

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  • Oct 7, 2020
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Today, companies of all sizes are interested in accessing more renewable energy to meet their sustainability goals. DTE Energy is both helping its customers – residential, commercial and industrial – reduce their impact on the environment and helping accelerate renewable energy development in Michigan through participation in its MIGreenPower voluntary renewable energy program.

During this year’s Clean Energy Week, which was celebrated both nationally and in Michigan from September 21 – September 25, DTE worked with several business customers to announce their MIGreenPower program commitments. Customers who enroll in MIGreenPower choose to match up to 100% of their energy use to specific DTE wind and solar projects. DTE has no cap on program enrollment and has committed to build or acquire additional renewable projects to meet customer demand. On track to be one of the largest in the country in terms of megawatts subscribed, DTE’s MIGreenPower program now has more than 17,000 residential and small business subscribers as well as participation from some of Michigan’s most recognizable brands, including General Motors, Ford, the University of Michigan and the Detroit Zoo.

MIGreenPower Clean Energy Week enrollments included several industry sector firsts, including participation from a prominent regional economic development organization as well as one of the Midwest’s largest commercial real estate companies. Earlier this summer, two of Detroit’s distilleries also enrolled. The program’s small business subscribers include a broad spectrum of industries including a local chain of Thai restaurants to a karate studio to a paint supply store and even a tool and die company.

The momentum we are seeing with this program is very exciting. We’ve developed a flexible and affordable program that is helping a diverse group of customers reduce their carbon footprint and take a positive step in the fight against climate change. Because we are now offering a suite of MIGreenPower voluntary programs, customers can choose the option that best fits their needs.

Ann Arbor SPARK, a non-profit organization focused on driving multi-sector economic development in the Ann Arbor region and across the state of Michigan, announced its enrollment in MIGreenPower during its annual meeting, which coincided with the start of Clean Energy Week. Known as a catalyst for innovation and charged with attracting companies and talent to southeastern Michigan, Ann Arbor SPARK enrolled in MIGreenPower at 100%.

“Enrolling in MIGreenPower was an easy decision for our organization,” said Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK. “The program provides us with the ability to make an immediate impact on the environment and contribute to the clean energy economy. Increasingly, easy access to renewable energy is a major draw for companies to open or relocate to a community. Programs like MIGreenPower help us attract and retain businesses that help drive continued economic growth and technological innovation.” 

The Farbman Group, a full-service commercial real estate company with offices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin, also announced their program enrollment during Clean Energy Week. The company has four offices in southeastern Michigan and manages some of metro Detroit’s most famous buildings.

Having embarked on a robust plan to reduce its carbon footprint throughout its portfolio, the Farbman Group saw the program as a good way to support its sustainability goals. “As an owner and operator of hundreds of buildings across the State of Michigan, Farbman Group is always looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact,” said CEO Andrew V. Farbman. “Our company is extremely proud to be one of the first businesses to invest in DTE Energy’s MIGreenPower program, resulting in a significantly reduced carbon footprint through wind and solar energy generated right in our own backyard.”

Helping customers see its wind and solar projects was also part of DTE’s Clean Energy Week activation. The company did this by releasing a 27-minute video tour to one of its wind parks and two of its solar farms. Structured as a virtual field trip and geared towards 6th – 9th graders, the video explains how renewable energy is helping fight climate change, explores the science behind generating energy from the wind and sun and shows how these projects are constructed and maintained. DTE also prepared an educators’ guide for teachers to enhance and extend the educational value of the video.

Especially during this challenging time with so many schools offering only online learning, we wanted to provide students with a unique and engaging educational experience. We also hope this video will inspire some to pursue a career in energy.   

With goals to achieve net zero by 2050 from DTE’s electric and gas utilities, DTE is making a significant investment in its renewable energy portfolio, building a state-of-the-art natural gas-fired power plant and providing both gas and electric customers with the opportunity to participate in voluntary programs. If planned projects are approved, DTE will add 420 megawatts of new solar capacity to its portfolio by the end of 2022 to source MIGreenPower purchases from corporate, municipal and industrial customers, increasing DTE’s solar generation capacity by nearly ten times.

Continued customer involvement in reducing carbon emissions is a critical part of our mission to lessen our impact on the environment. Successfully combatting climate change requires a holistic approach that draws upon the combined efforts of industry, government and individuals. We appreciate opportunities like Clean Energy Week to engage the public and provide visibility to those taking a leadership position in the transition to cleaner energy.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 7, 2020

Especially during this challenging time with so many schools offering only online learning, we wanted to provide students with a unique and engaging educational experience. We also hope this video will inspire some to pursue a career in energy. 

Thrilled to hear this-- hand-on experience is so key to inspiration so the virtual learning certainly hurts in that way, but overcoming that and finding other ways to engage the next generation of energy professionals is too important to ignore. 

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