DTE plans 45 MW of solar in total at two sites in Lapeer, Michigan

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), in collaboration with the City of Lapeer, Mich., plans to break ground in the spring of 2016 on 45 MW of new solar generating capacity at two project sites.

The larger of the two projects will be 30 MW in size and located off Interstate 69 between Michigan Highway 24 and Lake Nepessing Road. When completed, it will be the largest operating utility-owned photovoltaic solar array east of the Mississippi River and the third largest in the country, said DTE. A second project totaling 15 MW will be developed simultaneously at a site located on Turrill Road between Michigan Highway 24 and Clark Road. 

“DTE is the largest investor in solar in the state. The development of the two new Lapeer solar projects furthers that investment and reflects DTE Energy’s broader commitment to build a more sustainable future for our customers through a cleaner, more diversified energy portfolio,” said Irene Dimitry, DTE Energy’s vice president of Business & Development.

On Dec. 11, the Michigan Public Service Commission approved DTE Electric‘s contract with Inovateus Solar MI LLC to develop additional solar generating capacity of up to 50 MW. This approval allows DTE to move forward with development of the two Lapeer sites. The company is evaluating other sites for the remaining 5 MW of the approved capacity.

“Lapeer is proud to partner with DTE Energy on these solar projects, and we look forward to a long term relationship that produces many benefits for the City of Lapeer, its residents, Lapeer County, Lapeer Community schools, the I-69 corridor, and beyond. I would like to thank the professional, detail-oriented team at DTE for their commitment to the City of Lapeer,” said William Sprague, mayor of the City of Lapeer.

DTE is currently developing five other solar projects across Michigan, including a 1.9-MW array at the company’s Greenwood Power Plant, a 750-kW array in Romulus and a 500-kW array in Brownstown, which will be complete by the end of 2015. The company is also planning an 800-kW installation in Ypsilanti and an 800-kW installation at the GM Warren Transmission plant, scheduled to be completed by June 2016.

The addition of these solar projects will position DTE Energy to exceed a state mandate requiring electric utilities to supply 10% of their electricity from renewable energy sources every year from 2015 to 2029.

The Michigan PSC on Dec. 11 approved an application by DTE Electric related to a wind project that recently underwent a name change and a downsizing, with new solar projects to make up the difference on lost wind capacity. In an order issued in December 2014, the commission had approved a turbine supply agreement (TSA) between DTE Electric and General Electric (NYSE: GE), and an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract with Aristeo Construction, both for the Meade Wind Park. DTE Electric planned to develop Meade as a 100-MW wind farm in Huron County; however, after a referendum in May 2015 in Meade Township, the original siting of the project was no longer possible.

Therefore, on Nov. 9, DTE Electric filed an application requesting approval of amendments to the TSA and EPC for Meade, now named the Pinnebog Wind Park, as a 50-MW project. On the same date, DTE Electric filed another application requesting approval of a solar EPC contract with Inovateus Solar MI LLC for two to four projects, totaling 50 MW of energy, capacity, and renewable energy credits (RECs).

The 50-MW Pinnebog project, combined with the proposed 50 MW of solar generation, will replace the 100-MW Meade project. In addition to reducing the size of the wind project, the amendment moves the location of the wind farm from the original siting in Chandler, Meade, Oliver, and Colfax townships in Huron County to the same townships, with the exception of Meade.

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.