DTE Energy cuts renewable energy costs under amended plan

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) said June 4 that its DTE Electric unit has filed an amended renewable energy plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) that proposes to lower the monthly surcharge paid by residential customers to 43 cents from the current $3.

DTE Energy’s plan calls for an overall reduction of all customer electric rates – both business and residential – of nearly $90m per year. In addition, the amended plan continues to achieve full Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) compliance each year through 2029, although the projected number of megawatts needed to achieve compliance has been reduced to 950 MW from 1,000 MW. The plan has to be reviewed and approved by the MPSC.

“We’re pleased to offer this plan to the commission, which has been optimized to meet the state’s renewable energy goals while reducing the cost to our customers,” said Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy vice president, Marketing & Renewables.

The rate reduction follows significant efforts by DTE Energy to keep electric service affordable. The company, Michigan’s largest electricity supplier and the largest investor in renewable energy in the state, has led its peer electric utilities in controlling operating costs. Between 2007 and 2011, for example, DTE Energy has seen a 1% drop in operating costs, compared with an industry average of a 23% gain.

“We’ve experienced lower costs to build our own wind energy parks, as well as for contracts to purchase power,” Dimitry said. “Contributing to that have been technology improvements that have led to better wind and solar energy production, as well as federal production tax credits that have offset our costs.”

DTE Energy has reached 92% of its 950-MW goal with either operating projects or those under contract. DTE Energy expects to invest about $1.3bn to achieve its 10% goal during the 20-year program.

DTE Energy began collecting surcharges from its business and residential customers in 2009 to cover the costs associated with meeting the state’s RPS goals, which required Michigan electric utilities to provide 10% of their power from renewable resources by 2015.

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.