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DTE Energy will begin burning coal at Belle River Power Plant in 2028, earlier than originally planned, at a time when the plant will close in 2020, and earlier then previously anticipated

DTE Energy will begin burning coal at Belle River Power Plant in 2028, earlier than originally planned, at a time when the plant will close in 2020, and earlier then previously anticipated

DTE Energy stated it will discontinue coal use at the Belle River Power Plant by the end of December 2028 to accelerate its carbon emissions reductions.

The big Michigan utility company announced it will stop burning coal at the St. Clair County power plant two years ahead of schedule. The goal is to achieve its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and an end goal for 2028.

DTEs Chief Executive Officer Jerry Norcia said the company's gradual retirement of its coal-burning plants will accelerate its transition to cleaner energy generation, among other benefits for customers.

After officials said they've considered options, the Belle River site will be converted to a renewable power generator.

Four coal-fired power plants in Conners Creek, Harbor Beach, Marysville, and River Rouge have already been shut down by DTE. The next to retire in 2022 will be St. Clair and Trenton Channel, as the business transitions from coal to natural gas and renewable energy.

The last two of DTE's coal-burning facilities will be Belle River and the Monroe Power Plant, according to Renee McClelland, a company spokesman.

Emissions from burning coal are linked to smog and respiratory illnesses, mercury and other heavy metal air pollution, and greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere to fuel global warming and the climate crisis.

McClelland said DTE's overarching goals are to continue carbon emission reductions after the 50 percent goal is met: 80 percent down by 2040 and net zero by 2030. She stated that her plans include a greater reliance on renewable sources while also preserving the ability to rely on natural gas to provide reliable, baseload power.

McClelland said DTE will ultimately eliminate carbon emissions, though company officials dont yet know how to accomplish that.

Were not sure what that will look like right now, she said. We may not be using natural gas by 2050, he adds.

However, environmentalists contend that the firm should accelerate its coal use.

DTE is attempting to stop burning coal in Belle River two years earlier than originally planned, and we're 100 percent opposed. So, I'd like to express my gratitude to the company for making this decision, according to Charlotte Jameson, the Michigan Environmental Council's chief policy and program officer.

But, that being said, we believe that DTE will have to act quickly to end its coal use across the board. Those are both from an economic standpoint and a climate change perspective; we really should be turning off coal completely by 2030, according to dozens of the projections.

Jameson pointed to what she described as the sizable remaining DTE coal plant in Monroe, which means the business will remain very coal dependent even after Belle River closes down. She added that natural gas is still a fossil fuel.

Were not going to solve climate change if we continue to burn fossil fuels, period. So, I believe any shift from coal to natural gas is only a tiny step in the right direction in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and its not clear whether or not natural gases are cleaner than coal, according to Jameson.

DTE currently serves 2.2 million residents in southeast Michigan with power from coal, natural gas, nuclear fuel, hydroelectricity, and other renewables like wind and solar.

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Under the Whitmer climate change vision, Michigan would be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Demise of coal-burning power means forever toxic ash landfills on Great Lakes State shores.

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