DTE Energy in Detroit today announced it will reduce methane emissions from its natural gas utility operations by more than 80 percent by 2040—part of a broad sustainability initiative the company has launched to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change while continuing to provide customers with reliable and affordable power.
“Since 2011 DTE’s improvements in our natural gas distribution system have resulted in a 16 percent reduction in methane emissions,” says Mark Stiers, president and COO of DTE Gas. “Our continued commitment to gas main replacement and proactive compressor station maintenance will allow us to reduce methane emissions by more than 80 percent in the next 20 years.”
DTE the reductions will be achieved by replacing steel and cast iron pipelines at a more accelerated pace than recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency and installing new materials, such as polyethylene tubing for main and service lines and epoxy coated high-strength steel for transmission lines.
DTE transports natural gas, which serves as the energy source for providing heat, powering appliances, and more for 1.3 million residential and business customers throughout Michigan. With DTE moving to retire all of its coal-fired plants by 2040 to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent, the company also is increasing its use of natural gas as a low-emission 24/7 energy source to produce electricity for 2.2 million customers in southeast Michigan.
Natural gas is a clean, safe, and reliable source of energy. It will play a key role in partnership with DTE’s growing capacity of emission-free renewable energy to ensure cleaner, reliable and affordable energy for Michigan residents, Stiers says.
DTE plans to double its renewable energy capacity from 1,000 megawatts to 2,000 megawatts by 2022 – providing enough additional electricity to power 800,000 homes, while driving investments of more than $1.7 billion in Michigan. Within the next year, DTE will begin operating the Pine River and Polaris wind parks, which will have a combined capacity of 330 megawatts and be DTE’s largest and most efficient wind parks to date.
“DTE has demonstrated that methane emissions can be reduced while at the same time allowing natural gas to play an integral role in the company’s energy portfolio while transitioning to a reduced carbon emission infrastructure,” Stiers says. “A balanced mix of energy sources, such as wind, solar, and natural gas, is an important part of DTE’s strategy to deliver safe, secure, reliable, affordable, and cleaner power to our customers and all Michigan consumers.”
DTE broke ground in August on the natural gas-fueled Blue Water Energy Center in East China Township (near Marine City). When it becomes operational in 2022, it will be the most efficient power plant in the state producing affordable and reliable low-emission electricity for 850,000 homes starting in 2022.
Methane accounts for about 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The transmission and storage sector of the natural gas industry has reduced its methane emissions by 44 percent from 1990 to 2016.
DTE Energy provides electricity to 2.2 million customers in southeast Michigan, as well as natural gas to 1.3 million customers in the state. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing, and trading.