There is hope for the Concerned Citizens of Branch County, opponents of a proposed DTE wind farm in parts of Batavia, Matteson, Sherwood, and Union Townships, after a Friday ruling from the Michigan Public Service Commission.
The Commission said “DTE failed to prove that proposed company owned wind projects to be built in 2021 or later, and which do not qualify for the full federal tax credit, can be cost-effective compared to alternative sources of renewable generation and ownership models.”
These and other DTE wind projects will still be reviewed as part of DTE’s “integrated resource plan,” which is a comprehensive look at supplyside resources needed to meet power generation needs.
Utilities are required to file renewable energy plans with the MPSC under statutes that promote the development and use of clean and renewable energy resources and reduce energy waste through cost-effective programs. DTE filed its current REP in March 2018.
The ruling does not kill DTE’s Branch County plans but it makes it harder and requires cost justification as markets and resources change.
Townships boards in Batavia, Matteson, and Sherwood have been working on zoning ordinances to control wind turbines since DTE began signing leases in the townships. Union Township does not have zoning.
The ruling also made it easier for DTE to meet its renewable requirements. The Commission approved DTE’s purchase of three wind projects that will qualify for a 100 percent federal Production Tax Credit, and resulting in savings the MPSC says will benefit ratepayers.
DTE will buy the Isabella 1 and Isabella 2 projects after they are built and tested by developer Isabella Wind. The proposed generators in Isabella County will produce a total of 383 megawatts and will be operational by November 2020.
DTE also will buy from Gichi Noodin Wind Farm LLC the 72.5 MW Fairbanks Wind Park in Delta County, which will be built by October 2020.
Power from all three wind farms will be used to meet demand in DTE’s Large Customer Voluntary Green Pricing program.
There were several other rulings related to solar renewable and a refund issue. Since the Commission made changes to DTE’s renewable energy plan, the company has 14 days to indicate whether it supports the changes.
If the company does not agree, the Commission’s approval of parts of the plan are voided and DTE must file a revised renewable energy plan by Nov. 1.
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