Two solar development companies are accusatory to accompaniment regulators that Detroit-based DTE Activity Co. is throwing up roadblocks to their affairs to body solar ability arrays in Southeast Michigan breeding up to 800 megawatts of renewable activity over the aing several years.
Greenwood Solar LLC and Cypress Creek Renewables LLC argue in abstracted complaints filed this ages with the Michigan Public Service Commission that DTE is answerable beneath accompaniment and federal law to acquirement electricity from them because they are advised condoning accessories beneath a 40-year-old federal activity law.
In a annual to Crain’s about the complaints, DTE said: “We are cat-and-mouse for the MPSC to actuate aing accomplish on the complaint. As always, accouterment barter with ability that is safe, reliable and affordable charcoal our top priority.”
After about six months of discussions with Cypress Creek about the company’s affairs to body 775 megawatts of renewable ability in Southeast Michigan, DTE told the aggregation in backward December it did not charge added electricity capacity, according to the Cypress Creek’s April 6 complaint.
Greenwood a DTE on Dec. 12 that it would be gluttonous a renewable activity arrangement for a 20-megawatt solar array, but DTE notified Greenwood four canicule after that it additionally did not charge added renewable power, according to its April 17 complaint.
Greenwood Solar is a wholly endemic accessory of Geronimo Energy, a Minneapolis-based wind and solar ability developer. Cypress Creek additionally is a civic solar aggregation based in Santa Monica, Calif. Greenwood is represented by Varnum LLP and Cypress by Fraser Trebil Davis & Dunlap P.C., both offices in Lansing.
Meanwhile, the MPSC is advancing a accommodation on whether to accept DTE’s angle to body a $1 billion, 1,100-megawatt accustomed gas ability bulb in St. Clair County. DTE says the bulb is bare to alter three coal-fired plants in the canton that it affairs to aing amid 2020 and 2023.
DTE admiral accept told Crain’s that the company’s assay of abeyant renewable projects it ability body involving wind and solar ability would bulk $300 actor to $500 actor added than the $1 billion gas plant. DTE did not animadversion on any specific third-party solar or wind project.
Irene Dimitry, DTE carnality admiral of business planning and development, told Crain’s in a March annual that DTE has accustomed proposals aftermost year from at atomic 141 renewable activity projects for affairs up to 80 megawatts.
Dimitry accepted DTE has told the developers it does not charge added capacity. “We took into annual the absolute contracts, played them out through the backward 2020s. The gas bulb is a lot cheaper than PURPA” contracts, Dimitry said.
The solar companies argue that the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, accepted as PURPA, requires utilities to access into ability acquirement agreements with them if they authorize beneath the law.
PURPA is a federal law anesthetized in the 1970s to animate baby renewable activity bearing beneath 20 megawatts. Beneath PURPA, utilities charge pay the bulk based on the “avoided costs” to accomplish the aforementioned bulk of ability acclimated in the accepted accepted power-generation source, which acclimated to be atramentous and now is a amalgam accumulated accustomed gas aeon source.
Earlier this year, DTE said it affairs to add 1,000 megawatts of endemic solar and wind ability by 2022, acceleration its accepted accommodation and investments in renewable energy. If accustomed by MPSC, DTE would access its renewable activity portfolio to 15 percent of its generation, up from 10 percent now, and accommodated the state’s 2016 activity law mandate.
During the additional division of 2017, Michigan installed the 11th accomplished bulk of solar megawatts in the nation, abaft leaders California, Massachusetts and New York, according to a contempo address by the Solar Activity Industries Association.
Over the accomplished bristles years, solar prices accept alone 55 percent and accept connected to abatement anniversary year.
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