DTE Energy is building the region’s largest battery energy storage center at old Trenton coal plant

The center will have the capacity to store up to 220 megawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 40,000 homes.

Rendering of DTE Trenton Channel Energy Center.

Rendering of DTE Trenton Channel Energy Center.

DTE Energy announced Monday it will build a battery energy storage facility at the recently retired Trenton Channel coal plant.

DTE Energy CEO and Chairman Jerry Norcia said this is the largest coal plant to energy storage conversion project in the Great Lakes Region.

“And that means it will be one of the largest battery arrays in the Midwest,” Norcia said. “That’s a first for us just like this plant was a first of its region at that time.”

The facility is expected to be completed in 2026.

The center will have the capacity to store up to 220 megawatts of electricity, enough to power up to 40,000 homes. It will store electricity during times of excess generation and will distribute the power during times of high demand.

DTE has received $140 million in tax incentives from the 2022 federal Inflation Reduction Act. Norcia said that money will be passed back to customers.

“If you look at our prior plan, before the Inflation Reduction Act, it was a billion dollars more expensive four our customers than it is today,” Norcia said. “The Inflation Reduction Act basically provides tax incentives that we can pass on to our customers in the form of lower bills.”

Related: DTE Energy is requesting another rate increase, this time for $456M

The project is part of DTE’s CleanVision Intergrated Resource Plan. It will also help Michigan’s statewide energy storage target to have 60% renewable energy by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2040.

“Michigan is the first state in the Midwest to establish an energy storage standard, which is now the third most ambition in the nation,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “DTE’s new center here in Trenton will help us meet 10% of the statewide storage goal all by itself.”

The Trenton Channel Power Plant, also known as the Trenton Stacks, was decommissioned in 2022 after nearly 100 years of operation, as part of DTE’s plan to reach net zero carbon emissions. In March, the iconic “Candy Canes” smokestacks for the coal plant were demolished. The plant helped rebuild jobs and the economy in Michigan after both World Wars.

“The Trenton Plant was a fixture in our community for a century,” Trenton Mayor Steve Rzeppa said.” It’s encouraging to see DTE’s commitment to the site and community, employing new technology here in a way that benefits DTE’s more than 2 million electric customers as well as the city of Trenton and its residents.”

More battery storage sites are in development. Once finished, collectively all of DTE’s energy storage projects will help enable the utility to deliver clean energy efficiently to 2.3 million customers in Southeast Michigan.

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  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.