DTE Energy has broken ground on a $1bn natural gas-fuelled power plant, the Blue Water Energy Center, in the US state of Michigan.
The facility is expected to commence production of affordable and reliable low-emission electricity for 850,000 homes in 2022.
DTE Energy chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson said: “Just over a year ago, DTE first announced a broad sustainability initiative to reduce carbon emissions by more than 80 percent and do it in a way that maintains affordability and reliability for our customers. In fact, we’re already doing it.
“Since 2009 we have driven investments of more than $2.5bn in renewable energy with more investments coming. But as we continue to retire coal-fired power plants – all of them by 2040 – we need to complement wind farms and solar arrays with high reliability assets.
“As we Michiganders know well, the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine in our beautiful state. And that’s why we need natural gas-fuelled plants like the Blue Water Energy Center. When it begins operations in 2022, it will represent our single largest step in reducing carbon emissions to date.”
Kiewit Engineering will build the plant. The company will spend at least $200m on Michigan-based labour and materials. GE Power has been selected to provide the major generation equipment for the power plant.
More than 500 skilled labour jobs are expected to be created during construction, which will begin in 2019. Additionally, 35 full-time positions will be filled when the plant becomes operational in 2022.
Approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) earlier in 2018, Blue Water Energy Center is expected be the most fuel-efficient power plant in Michigan. It will run on natural gas and the combined-cycle technology will capture waste heat to produce additional electricity.
The plant will be 70% cleaner and 40% more efficient than the three coal-fired plants DTE plans to retire by 2023.
DTE, which announced plans to double its renewable energy capacity by 2022 to 2,000MW, will begin operating the Pine River and Polaris wind parks within the next year, which will have a combined capacity of 330MW.
Image: An artist’s rendering of DTE Energy’s Blue Water Energy Center. Photo: courtesy of DTE Energy.