The Energy Storage Report 2024

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US utility DTE starts 220MW/880MWh BESS project at Michigan coal plant site

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Utility DTE Energy has begun constructing a battery energy storage system (BESS) project at the site of a decommissioned coal power plant in its Michigan, US, service area.

The energy supplier retired the Trenton Channel Power Plant in the city of the same name two years ago in 2022. Known locally as Trenton Stacks, the coal-burning generation facility had run since its opening in 1924.

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DTE Energy broke ground on the new 4-hour duration, 220MW (880MWh) BESS project on Monday (10 June).

The utility got the regulatory go-ahead from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for the Trenton BESS project in March, as the stacks were finally demolished, as reported by Energy-Storage.news. At the time, the MPSC stated the expected cost of the project would be around US$460 million.

Commenting on the start of construction, state governor Gretchen Whitmer said that DTE “got this done with support from the Biden-Harris administration’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).”

According to the utility, the required Capex investment has been offset by US$140 million of incentives the company was able to avail of through the 2022 IRA legislation’s tax credits and provisions for infrastructure spending.

The battery storage system will charge with low-cost energy during off-peak times when renewable energy production is abundant, enabling DTE to manage its peak loads and accomodate more wind and solar on its grid.

‘Future is bright’

Whitmer’s state-level administration has also played a role in supporting Michigan’s energy storage sector as part of the governor’s Clean Energy Future Plan, passed in November 2023.

In addition to a 100% by 2040 clean energy target and carbon neutrality by 2050, making Michigan the first state in the US Midwest to commit to a net zero goal.

The package of five bills also saw the introduction of a 2.5GW energy storage procurement target for 2030. Michigan became the 10th US state with a storage policy target or goal, and led then-CEO of Key Capture Energy (KCE) Jeff Bishop to comment that it set a trailblazing pace for the Midwest region that others would likely follow.  

Regional transmission operator (RTO) MISO incorporated electricity storage into its market portfolio in 2022, with rules that favour 4-hour duration projects like DTE Energy’s Trenton facility.

Illustrative rendering of how the project may look. Image: DTE Energy via LinkedIn

“Thanks to projects like today’s, strong federal leadership, and the Michigan Legislature’s clean energy and jobs package I signed into law last year, our future is bright,” Gretchen Whitmer said this week.    

DTE Energy said the new BESS facility will help the utility integrate more renewable energy into its portfolio, in line with state goals and the company’s own 2022 integrated resource plan (IRP) which it dubbed ‘CleanVision’.

That includes adding 15,400MW of new renewable energy and 1,810MW of energy storage to its portfolio by 2042, on top of its existing 1,120MW of storage at the Ludington pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) plant, and 3,000MW of wind and solar capacity already existing or committed to prior to the 2022 IRP’s publication. That would bring its total renewable energy portfolio to 18,400MW and energy storage to 2,930MW by 2042.

The utility also said in its plan that it would be adding grid flexibility to integrate renewables capacity with new and emerging technologies for mid- to long-duration energy storage (LDES).

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