Under a pilot program called MIGreenPower, scheduled to start in April, Detroit utility customers will be able to invest in the clean energy they use by voluntarily funding DTE-owned wind and solar farms.
The program would allow customers to subscribe in 5 percent increments, up to 100 percent, to virtually receive power from the utility’s renewable energy projects. For example, a 25 percent investment would add an extra $5 per month to a customer bill – and would enable that customer to virtually receive some of his or her electricity from the Pinnebog Wind Project in Huron County and three solar farms in Detroit and Lapeer, Crain’s Detroit Business reported on February 7.
“Until now, customers who wanted to use more renewable energy were limited to installing their own solar panels or other renewable equipment at their homes or businesses – which requires a significant initial investment,” Irene Dimitry, vice president of Business Planning and Development, DTE Energy, commented in a formal company release.
“We also know,” she said, “that customers who rent apartments or live in condos may be unable to make any alterations to the exterior structure of the homes they live in. MIGreenPower is designed to address customer demand for a more flexible and affordable alternative.”
Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Michigan – the nation’s largest and most complex base operated by the Air National Guard located in – already has expressed interest in being one of the program’s early adopters, DTE said.
“We are looking carefully at this program,” said Brigadier General John Slocum, the Base Commander. “We think it can provide us with a means to meet our sustainability goals efficiently and economically. We are excited to know that DTE is bringing this type of opportunity to its customers in Michigan.”
“This type of program further spreads awareness of the viability of renewable energy in a way that also makes sense for the energy bill,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Motors’ global manager of renewable energy. “We’ll look at programs like this as we work to meet our goal of meeting the electricity needs of GM’s global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.”
Participation in this program is purely voluntary and is open to all of DTE’s 2.2 million full service business and residential electric customers in southeast Michigan.
While it is clear that in the early years, customers will pay more for MIGreenPower than they will receive in credits, DTE said the value of the credit is expected to increase over time while the cost to participate remains the same, according to the report by Crain’s Detroit Business.