DTE Energy retires two southeast Michigan coal plants in ongoing carbon-free transition

Published on December 12, 2022 by Chris Galford

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As it continues to shift toward carbon-free sources of power, DTE Energy of Michigan announced last week the retirement of two more coal plants without any loss of workforce.

A no-layoff commitment was established for the retirements, so any workers therein will be trained for opportunities elsewhere in-company. Further, the retirements of the two plants – at Trenton Channel and St. Clair, respectively – allowed the company to reach nearly one-third of its generation from carbon-free sources, including wind, solar and nuclear energy. The two facilities had operated for nearly a century, built to address the state’s growth following WWI and WWII.

“Retiring these plants is another step in DTE’s plan to deliver affordable, reliable, and clean energy through a modern grid that meets the needs of our customers’ changing lifestyles and our state’s new economy,” Jerry Norcia, chairman and CEO of DTE Energy, said. “These steps today will lead to a cleaner environment and energy future for Michigan families, communities, and businesses.”

At the height of its expansions in 1950, the Trenton Channel facility provided 1,060 MW of energy for customers, while St. Clair provided nearly 2,000 MW for the region. Now, however, DTE is transitioning to cleaner sources of energy under the calculations of its CleanVision Integrated Resource Plan. This 20-year proposal calls for, among other things, net zero carbon emissions as of 2050 and the development of more than 15,000 MW of wind and solar energy sources.

“We’re proud of the legacy and role of these plants, which served our country in times of war and provided the critical energy required to fuel Michigan’s industrial heartland for decades—supporting generations of Michiganders and the businesses and factories that have made our great state a global leader,” added Norcia. “We’re grateful to the thousands of employees and retirees who worked at the Trenton Channel and St. Clair power plants through the years and who will continue to move on with us as we maintain the tradition of adapting to anticipate and meet our state’s changing energy needs. We also want to extend our appreciation to St. Clair County and the City of Trenton for being great hosts and long-time partners to DTE.”

Other coal plants include the Bell River Power Plant, which will be converted to natural gas, and the Monroe Power Plant, where coal use will be phased out through 2035.