BY MELANIE YOUNG
Recent speculation about the closing of the DTE Energy Trenton Channel Power Plant proved to be true in June. DTE Energy confirmed that the plant will close between 2020 and 2023.
DTE announced that the company will retire eight coal fired energy generating units at three sites in Michigan over the next seven years. In addition to the Trenton site, the company expects to shutter plants in River Rouge and East China Township. According to DTE, the three plants generated about 25 percent of the electricity produced in 2015, which is enough to power 900,000 homes.
According to DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson, the process of replacing the facilities and the power they provide will be seamless for customers.
“We will replace 11 aging coal-fired energy generating units at three facilities built in the 1950s and 1960s with a mix of newer, more modern and cleaner sources of energy generation, such as wind, natural gas, and solar,” Anderson said.
The closings were announced so many years in advance so that the company can increase capacity and production of these other forms of energy.
The plant still employs around 110 people and according to DTE, those employees will be transitioned into new positions at other company facilities. The plant is currently still generating electricity for local customers.
So what will become of the buildings and infrastructure on the DTE property along the Detroit River? According to DTE spokesperson Brian Corbett, the company is still in the early stages of planning for that.
“By announcing the plans for the plant five to seven years prior to closure, it allows us to work with the City of Trenton to research potential land reuse, or land sale,” Corbett said.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) said the State of Michigan is also working with the company. “We will be working with DTE, Mayor Stack and all stakeholders to minimize the negative impact on the community, help Trenton take advantage of opportunities in the new energy economy and keep the Downriver community strong.”
Officials at the City of Trenton plan to work closely with the company as the closing date draws near. Mayor Kyle Stack has nothing but praise for the city’s relationship with DTE.
“DTE has been a great partner for the community of Trenton. We couldn’t ask for better.” Stack said she is heartbroken that the company intends to close the facility, but is hopeful they may use the site for something else. She has been pleased with the amount of communication she has received from the company about what the plans are for the Trenton location.
The projected closure date of the Trenton Channel Power Plant will leave it just short of its centennial. The original coal plant was first fired up in 1924.