The current population of the “Wolverine State, Michigan is estimated to be 10.02 million people. In April 2019, state utilities used coal (31.1%), natural gas (30.5%), nuclear energy (27.4%) and renewable energy (11.1%) to generate electricity. Wind and hydropower are the primary sources of renewable energy in Michigan.
Michigan’s reliance on coal and nuclear energy contributes to state’s high electricity costs. In April 2019, the average cost for residential electricity in Michigan was U.S. 15.5 ¢ per kWh, twelfth most expensive price in the United States. The average price for residential electricity in the United States in April 2019 was 13.3 ¢ per kWh.
Concerns over climate change has prompted legislators to pass laws designed to accelerate the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Michigan now implemented financial incentive programs for renewable energy, like wind and solar. In February 2017, Michigan legislators enacted Public Act 295, which requires all state utilities to generate to 15% of all electricity sales from renewable energy by 2021.
DTE Energy has received approval to purchase three wind projects from the Michigan Public Service Commission. The approval was granted subject to the three wind projects being completed and operational by 2020. The three wind projects, Isabella I, Isabella II and Fairbanks Wind have a total capacity of 455 MW.
DTE Energy, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan is an electric and natural gas utility company. DTE Energy provides electricity to 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and natural gas to 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The three new wind energy projects will primarily provide power to Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the University of Michigan.
The cost of coal is now more than double the cost for onshore wind, solar or hydropower. Coal ash from coal-fired power plants is also a major risk to pollute ground water. Minerals in the coal ash, like arsenic, lead and mercury can leach into the ground water, polluting drinking water. Utilities like DTE are abandoning coal-fired power plants for compelling environmental and economic reasons.
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