Commission Sets Risky Precedent and Leaves Customers on the Hook for $1 Billion Natural Gas Plant

Statement by Sam Gomberg, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Apr 27, 2018

DETROIT (April 27, 2018) – In a move that will cost ratepayers, hurt public health and continue Michigan’s over-dependence on fossil fuels, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) approved DTE Energy’s proposal to build a $1 billion natural gas plant.  

Below is a statement by Sam Gomberg, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Midwest office. 

“We are extremely disappointed in the commission’s decision to approve DTE’s costly natural gas plant. Given the availability of lower-cost clean energy alternatives, this decision exposes Michigan ratepayers to unnecessarily high rates, a litany of risks associated with fossil fuel dependence and significant levels of pollution and carbon emissions.  

“DTE’s proposal for a new $1 billion natural gas power plant was based on a flawed and biased analysis that includes unreasonably optimistic projections about natural gas prices, inaccurate assumptions about clean energy prices and capabilities, and a failure to consider cheaper, cleaner and less risky alternatives. When UCS and other advocates analyzed the proposal, we found a combination of energy efficiency, renewable power and demand response could meet DTE’s power needs for less money, less risk, less pollution and fewer carbon emissions.  

“It is a sad day for Michigan when robust analytics, hundreds of public comments from DTE customers, and input from dozens of economics, public health, engineering, energy and natural resources experts in opposition can’t convince the commission that another fossil fuel-burning power plant isn’t in ratepayers’ best interests. The commission’s decision means Michigan families will foot the bill for this plant, personally and financially, for decades to come.”