The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has approved DTE Electric Co.’s amended renewable energy plan (Case No. U-18232), expanding the company’s portfolio of wind and solar power generation facilities and addressing concerns raised by the commission in previous orders, including the ability for third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs) to be used to meet the renewable portfolio standard.
MPSC approved DTE Electric’s request for ex parte approval of the Meridian Wind Farm Turbine project’s supply agreements and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts between DTE Electric and General Electric Co., Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. and Barton Malow Co.
Meridian Wind Farm, located in Mt. Haley and Porter townships in Midland and Saginaw counties, will provide 224.9 MW of electricity. Commercial operation of the facility is expected to begin in late 2021.
In addition, the commission approved DTE Electric’s request for ex parte approval of solar PPAs between the utility company and Assembly Solar III LLC, and River Fork Solar II LLC, both subsidiaries of Ranger Power, for two 25-year terms. The Assembly Solar facility in Shiawassee County would provide 79 MW of renewable energy, while the River Fork Solar facility in Calhoun County would provide 49 MW.
The approvals, combined with prior investments in renewable energy, ensure DTE Electric is able to meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard, requiring 15% of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2021. Beyond this standard set in state law in 2016, DTE Electric plans to invest in additional renewable energy projects to achieve its voluntary goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
In February, the commission recommended substantial changes to DTE Electric’s IRP, citing a lack of competitive bidding and other issues that left the commission without the full range of evidence it needed to evaluate DTE Electric’s renewable energy proposals. DTE later filed the amended renewable energy plan which was the one recently approved by the MPSC.