Heads of Michigan’s Major Utilities React to Paris Climate Withdrawal, Discuss Energy Landscape

“We will be retiring coal completely by 2040,” says DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson.

Jake Neher/WDET

The subject of “energy” never gets old in the state of Michigan. We’re surrounded by massive, powerful bodies of water, we pump natural gas and oil through pipelines that run beneath the Straits of Mackinac, and there’s an ongoing conversation about replacing coal plants with renewable source such as water and solar. Meanwhile, our energy infrastructure is aging and overburdened, making lengthy and vast power-outages more common. 

Gerry Anderson, CEO of DTE Energy, and Patti Poppe, CEO of Consumers Energy, join Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss energy in Michigan — both now and in the future. 

Anderson says that together DTE and Consumers cover over 80% of the state’s energy customers.

He says the industry needs is now focusing on aging infrastructure and grid, and discusses recent legislation dealing with these issues. 

“Our state is moving through a fundamental transformation in the way that we produce electricity,” says Anderson.  

Poppe discusses the benefit of using new technology, such as smart meters, which Consumers recently used after a storm in April.

The utility CEOs also react to recent news that President Trump will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, which has sparked backlash both here and abroad.

Anderson and Poppe agree that climate change is the major public policy issue of the industry. They discuss how power can be both economically competitive and have better environmental outcomes. 

“We know that we can serve our communities and our customers and our planet and still be a profitable entity at the same time,” says Poppe. “There are no trade-offs. We believe that you can do it all.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 


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