A Perfect Combination: The Beauty of Multiple IRPs

We recently discussed how Michigan hit a major milestone in the road to a cleaner energy future with two local energy companies releasing their respective integrated resource plans (IRPs).

Remind Me: What is an integrated resource plan (IRP)?

These IRPs are essentially five-year plans outlining how each local energy provider intends to provide the Michigan homes, businesses, and communities it serves with reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy. If our 2016 energy law is the roadmap for local energy providers, policymakers, and regulators to plan for a brighter, cleaner energy future, then IRPs are the signposts, speed limits, construction zones, and guardrails that will help us navigate that roadmap successfully.

Each IRP takes into consideration how to leverage the right mix of renewables, energy efficiency, and cleaner 24/7 energy sources to meet Michigan’s energy needs and balance our energy goals.

What are the Highlights of the Two IRPS?

AMP will be taking a deeper dive into different aspects of both Consumers’ and DTE Energy’s IRPs over the next several weeks, but here are some of the most exciting highlights:

  • Coal: Both of these IRP plans are looking at retiring all coal plants by 2040!
  • Wind: Consumers is planning to increase their wind capacity to 550 MW by 2021, and DTE’s IRP maps out increasing wind capacity to 855 MW by 2024. (For context, 550 MW is enough electricity to power roughly 412,500 homes at the same time; that number fluctuates based on the season, time of day, and weather conditions, but it’s a good indicator of how much universal renewable energy will expand in Michigan over the next few years.)
  • Energy Waste Reduction: Both DTE and Consumers Energy are planning on tackling energy waste reduction through demand response and energy efficiency efforts.
  • Natural Gas: DTE’s IRP lays out plans to build Blue Water Energy Center, a state-of-the-art, highly efficient natural gas planturchase additional electricity from the Filer City plant, a facility in the process of converting coal to natural gas (Natural gas would make up 18% of generation portfolio in 2030 and 10% in 2040).
  • Carbon Reduction: Both Consumers and DTE Energy are planning on reducing their carbon output by at least 80 percent by 2040. That’s right in line with the UN’s climate report and scientific community recommendations!

Together, these two IRPs represent complementary approaches that together provide a comprehensive energy strategy for Michigan. While there are differences between the two, they work together to make Michigan stronger when it comes to advancing cleaner energy in a way that works for our state’s unique geography, climate, and economy. Stay tuned as we investigate more ways these two IRPs work together to map out the next phase of Michigan’s clean energy future.