MPSC approves DTE's St. Clair County natural gas plant proposal

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved DTE Electric Co.’s certificates of necessity to build a natural gas-powered electric generation facility in St. Clair County to replace aging coal plants.

The Commission authorized DTE to recoup up to $951.8 million for the construction of an 1,100 megawatt (MW) combined cycle plant at DTE’s Belle River Power Plant site in East China Township (Case No. U-18419). DTE had sought approval for $989 million in cost recovery, but the Commission approved a lower contingency amount recommended by MPSC staff.

Under state law, the Commission had up to 270 days to rule on three certificates of necessity (CON) that DTE filed on July 31, 2017. In approving the CONs, the MPSC determined through an open hearing process with input from numerous stakeholders that the energy to be supplied by the project is needed, a natural gas combined cycle plant was the most reasonable and prudent means of meeting DTE’s future energy needs, and the company can recover up to $951.8 million in costs for the plant through future rates charged to customers.

"DTE Electric’s recent and planned investments in energy waste reduction, renewable energy and energy storage, when coupled with this highly efficient gas plant, demonstrate that Michigan is a great example of an 'all of the above' strategy to meet our energy needs in a reliable, affordable manner that protects the environment,” said Sally Talberg, chairman of the MPSC.

DTE has proposed building the facility on 40 acres next to the Belle River Power Plant, which is near transmission lines and high-pressure gas pipeline infrastructure. The company said it expects to begin construction in the spring of 2019 and have the plant operational in the spring of 2022. It will be DTE’s first major power plant to be built since the Fermi nuclear plant went into service in 1988.

For an Issue Brief on certificates of necessity and DTE Electric’s case, click here.

To read the press release about this decision, go to the documents library and click on press releases.