The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, September 07, 2018

DTE Energy breaks ground on $1B Blue Water Energy Center

By The Building Tradesman

EAST CHINA TWP. - DTE Energy on Aug. 21 broke ground on a new $1 billion natural gas-fueled plant, the Blue Water Energy Center. The utility said it will be the most efficient power plant in the state when it begins producing electricity for 850,000 homes starting in 2022.

"Just over a year ago, DTE first announced a broad sustainability initiative to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent and do it in a way that maintains affordability and reliability for our customers," said Gerry Anderson, chairman, and CEO, DTE Energy. "In fact, we're already doing it. Since 2009 we have driven investments of more than $2.5 billion in renewable energy with more investments coming."

The plant will be built by Kiewit Engineering (MI) Co. The company will spend a minimum of $200 million on Michigan-based labor and materials and has begun the pre-qualification process for local sub-contractors. Additionally, GE Power, a world leader in power generation and water technologies for utilities, independent power producers, and industrial applications, has been chosen to provide the major generation equipment. DTE Energy says more than 500 Michigan skilled labor jobs will be created during construction beginning in spring 2019 and an additional 35 full-time positions will be filled when the plant becomes operational in 2022. 

"As we continue to retire coal-fired power plants – all of them by 2040 – we need to complement wind farms and solar arrays with high-reliability assets," Anderson said. "As we Michiganders know well, the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine in our beautiful state. And that's why we need natural gas-fueled plants like the Blue Water Energy Center. When it begins operations in 2022, it will represent our single largest step in reducing carbon emissions to date." 

Already a significant producer of renewable energy, DTE has announced plans to double its renewable energy capacity by 2022 to 2,000 megawatts – providing enough additional electricity to power 800,000 homes while driving investments of more than $1.7 billion in Michigan. Within the next year, DTE will begin operating the Pine River and Polaris wind parks, which will have a combined capacity of 330 megawatts and be DTE's largest and most efficient wind parks to date.

DTE Energy serves 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and is a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan.