Sierra Club and Stakeholders Reach Settlement with DTE Energy That Retires Coal and Massively Expands Clean Energy

July 12, 2023: Today, Sierra Club and other parties reached a settlement agreement with DTE Energy, Michigan’s largest electric utility, concluding litigation over the company's long range energy plan, otherwise known as an integrated resource plan or IRP. Upon approval by the Michigan Public Service Commission, the settlement will put Michigan on track to end the burning of coal for electric generation in less than a decade, a major milestone for climate and public health progress in the state. Just a year ago, DTE still planned to close the massive Monroe coal plant in Southeast Michigan in 2040. Due to relentless pressure by Sierra Club, our outside counsel and experts, and a large coalition of allied grassroots and clean energy advocates, under the settlement, half of the plant will shut down by 2028, the other half by 2032.

In addition to the retirement of the Monroe coal-burning plant, there are several key benefits of the settlement. First, DTE Electric will add 3,800 MW of renewable generation and 880 MW of energy storage by 2030. For comparison, that’s more energy storage than is currently operating on the entire MISO grid today (the grid operator that serves a  broad swath of states from Minnesota to Louisiana, and includes most of Michigan).  DTE will also direct an additional $70 million in energy efficiency funding towards programs for income-qualified customers, and retire in 2024 a gas-burning peaking unit in an environmental justice community in River Rouge, Michigan.  Additionally, DTE has committed to study an even earlier retirement of the Monroe coal plant and plan for an entirely clean energy replacement of that plant in its next IRP.

In the DTE IRP, Sierra Club was represented by Earthjustice and the firm of Olson, Bzdok & Howard, with support from ELP managing attorney Elena Saxonhouse.  Experts Tyler Comings, George Evans, Douglas Jester, and Chris Neme provided key testimony, with guidance from our legal team, providing Sierra Club and its co-intervenors Michigan Environmental Council and NRDC with strong arguments for earlier retirement of Monroe and more clean energy going into settlement negotiations. The litigation was paired with creative grassroots advocacy and coalition work by Michigan Beyond Coal campaign staff to put public pressure on DTE to transition to clean energy.