Michigan’s two biggest electric utilities jointly announced Friday that they both plan to produce at least half of their energy from clean burning sources within the next 12 years.
Consumers Energy and DTE Energy both promised to accelerate clean energy goals and reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent in the coming decades. They are acting in the wake of Michigan’s 2016 energy reform law, a bipartisan measure which pushed utilities to buy or produce at least 15 percent of generation needs from renewable sources by 2022.
Both Consumers CEO Patti Poppe and her DTE counterpart Gerry Anderson praised Michigan billionaire Tom Steyer and other sponsors of the Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan initiative for working with the utilities. Steyer and his group were pushing for a public ballot to force a clean energy mandate.
Steyer and other environmentalists “have taken the time to understand our commitment to carbon reduction and how Michigan’s energy plan puts the tools in place to achieve this goal in a thoughtful and affordable manner,” the statement by the two CEOs reads. “Our two companies are overwhelmingly in favor of renewable energy and are focused on bringing additional energy efficiency opportunities to our customers.”
Steyer planned to spend at least $3.5 million on engaging and registering young voters ahead of the election measure, which the utilities opposed. The investment fund founder is also well known for a series of ads last year in which he called for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Consumer Energy’s 2018 sustainability report said that renewables currently make up 10 percent of the generation mix and the company spent $89 million on energy efficiency rebates and incentives last year.
DTE Energy has promised to add 675 MW of wind capacity and 15 MW of solar in coming years. It also plans to retire several coal-fired plants.