DTE planning more gas, renewables to blunt coal retirements

During the second quarter, DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) announced retirement of 2,500 MW of aging coal-fired capacity by 2030 and DTE Energy CEO Gerard Anderson said July 27 that the company will develop more natural gas and renewable power to make up for the lost generation.

Anderson also said to expect an additional 1,000 MW of coal retirements by 2030. When the coal dust settles, DTE’s coal generations will have been cut by half, DTE officials indicated during a quarterly earnings call with financial analysts.

DTE announced June 8 that it will retire eight coal-fired generating units at three sites in Michigan between 2020 and 2023. Slated for retirement between 2020 and 2023 are River Rouge facility, the St. Clair facility in East China Township, and the Trenton facility.

Retiring the coal plants and replacing lost generation with a combination of gas and renewables is “paving the way to cleaner energy by significantly reducing emissions,” according to the slide presentation submitted with the earnings report. 

“So in June, we announced closure plans for eight coal-fired-generating units. And this announcement, combined with our decision to cease operation at three coal-fired plants, which happened in April, means that we will replace 11 aging coal-fired generation units at three sites, totaling 2.5 gigawatts, on or before 2023,” Anderson said.

Much of this coal baseload generation will be replaced with natural gas generation.

“But we also intend to continue to invest in wind and solar to ensure that we keep the mix in our portfolio that we want. This portion of what is a longer-term transition plan for our fleet will require about $3 billion of investment,” Anderson said. “By 2030, we’d expect to retire an additional 1 gigawatt of coal-fired generation, which would bring total retirements to 3.5 gigawatts. And in doing that, our reliance on coal would decline by about 60%. And we’d expect to roughly double our current 10% renewable capacity, and to use more gas-fired generation in a baseload role,” Anderson said, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.

“Obviously, emissions through 2030 will be down fundamentally as well. So CO2, we project, would be down about 40% versus 2005 levels, and our conventional emissions would be down sharply as well,” Anderson said.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.