Powering Michigan’s Clean Energy Transformation
- May 11, 2020 4:13 pm GMT
When most people think of Michigan, cars, not clean energy, are likely the first thing that come to mind. But, surprisingly, the state is quietly becoming a clean energy powerhouse and is home to the second largest voluntary renewable energy program in the country in terms of megawatt-hours subscribed.
What’s driving demand for clean energy in this motor-centric, industrial, midwestern state? Like most states, Michigan’s clean energy transformation began with the passing of legislation. In 2016, with bipartisan support, the state passed sweeping new energy legislation that called for, among other things, an increase in the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), mandating that utilities produce 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2021. Previous legislation under Public Act 295 - the Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act - had established an RPS of 10% by 2015.
DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest investor-owned utility, is leading the state’s transition to cleaner energy. DTE achieved the 2015 RPS ahead of schedule and expects to not just meet, but exceed, the 2021 mandate. Already the state’s largest renewable energy investor and producer, DTE will grow its renewable energy generation capacity by 50% in 2020 when it brings four new wind parks online.
Growing its renewable energy portfolio and its voluntary renewable energy programs are important elements of the company’s broader aspirational goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company has also committed to a 50% carbon reduction by 2030, compared to 2005 baseline data, all while ensuring safe, reliable and affordable energy for Michigan.
In April 2017, DTE introduced MIGreenPower, its voluntary renewable energy program. Customers who subscribe to MIGreenPower can reduce their carbon footprint by matching a percentage of their energy use to DTE’s wind and solar projects. Their participation accelerates the demand for renewable energy, enabling DTE to grow its portfolio beyond the assets required by law.
Since 2017, DTE’s original MIGreenPower program has grown to a community of more than 12,000 Michiganders who are using MIGreenPower to deliver on their sustainability goals. Customers are taking advantage of the program’s flexibility and affordability; the program is open to renters and homeowners alike and customers can subscribe at a level that fits their needs and budget. Customers can change their subscription amount once a month if they wish and can stay in the program if they move, as long as they stay within DTE’s service territory. Since the program’s inception, these customers have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 43,112 metric tons, the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 9,314 cars off the road for one year.
In 2019, DTE expanded its MIGreenPower program to offer a tariff specifically designed for Michigan’s largest industrial customers. Several local companies, including some of the state’s most well-known brands, quickly embraced the program to help meet their own corporate sustainability goals. General Motors, Ford Motor Company, the University of Michigan and the Detroit Zoo all joined the program shortly after it began accepting enrollments. General Motors recently increased its participation in MIGreenPower to match 100% of its energy use for DTE-supplied facilities in Southeast Michigan, making it the state’s largest renewable energy purchase to date.
As more customers enroll in MIGreenPower, DTE will build additional renewable energy projects on their behalf. DTE has already committed to acquiring three new wind parks later this year because of enrollments in MIGreenPower. Two of the wind parks, located in mid-Michigan, will become Michigan’s largest upon commercial operation.
DTE is anticipating additional growth in its MIGreenPower program over the next five years and plans to introduce more program options to meet a diverse range of customer interests. Growing MIGreenPower participation not only helps DTE’s customers deliver on their clean energy goals, it helps create a cleaner future for Michigan. Together, we’re making a real difference.
Get Published - Build a Following
The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.
If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.