Op-Ed: Working together for Michigan’s clean energy future By Knox Cameron, Director, Renewable Solutions, DTE Energy

Knox Cameron, Director, Renewable Solutions, DTE Energy

 

There is no one magic solution for addressing climate change – it demands action from every angle and every entity.  I’ve committed the last decade and a half of my career to offering clean energy solutions for our local communities here in my home of Michigan, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we can make the biggest difference in paving the way toward a cleaner future when we all work together.

At DTE Energy, we are committed to addressing climate change – but we know it’s not always easy to “go green.” That’s why, in my 15 years at this company, my colleagues and I have worked at creating sustainable solutions for the communities we serve that are convenient, flexible, affordable – and effective. Back in 2017, we launched our MIGreenPower program, which is designed for any DTE Electric customer who wants to reduce their carbon footprint by attributing a percentage of their electricity use to renewable energy, beyond the 15% (and growing) that the company already provides.

This year, we launched the MIGreenPower Community Support pilot program with the goal of providing income-qualified customers with all the same benefits of the MIGreenPower program, while also providing them an electricity bill credit of approximately $25-35 each month (depending on household usage). This new program is funded by donations from DTE customers who want to share the benefits of renewable energy with others. Earlier this summer, we were thrilled to enroll our first dozen customers in the Community Support program. We’re excited to continue to grow this program with additional fundraising so we can enroll even more customers by the end of the year.

We’re also exploring ways to bridge MIGreenPower Community Support with DTE’s Energy Efficiency Assistance program to reduce costs and devote more funding to support a greater number of participants. Additionally, we’re working with the State of Michigan to have this pilot program included on the state’s application for the Solar for All grant, which has the potential to drive millions of dollars of support to the MIGreenPower Community Support program.

Today, MIGreenPower is among the largest voluntary renewable energy programs in the country, with clean energy commitments from more than 93,000 residential customers and 1,400 businesses, including notable names such as Ford Motor Company, Stellantis, General Motors, Bedrock Detroit and the University of Michigan. The annual environmental impact of this program is now equivalent to taking more than 630,000 gasoline-powered cars off the road. But we wanted to take the program a step further, expanding access to environmental sustainability so that more of our customers can participate in a clean energy future.

We’re building a roadmap of all the possible ways we can drive funding for income-qualified customers to access renewable energy through this program. The actions we take now will ensure that everyone is included in Michigan’s journey to a cleaner energy future. Together, we can make a difference.

 

 

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