Detroit Edison renewable energy purchase wins approval

Detroit, January 27, 2011 ­— Detroit Edison will expand its renewable energy portfolio with a landfill gas project to be built in Kimball Township at the Smiths Creek Landfill.

Detroit Edison will purchase the 3.2 MW of electricity produced at the Smiths Creek Landfill from Blue Water Renewables Inc., a unit of DTE Biomass Energy. The power purchase agreement was approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The Smith's Creek Landfill, owned and operated by St. Clair County, operates the commercial-scale septage injection landfill gas system, whereby material extracted from septic tanks is applied to the landfill to speed the decomposition of organic waste.

This process not only increases the life of the landfill, but also increases the rate of landfill gas generation used to fuel electricity production.

About 75 construction jobs will be created for the facility, which will produce enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. The project is expected to be operational late this year.

The Smiths Creek Landfill project also incorporates an education center to allow schools and community groups to learn about environmentally responsible means of waste disposal, as well as using renewable landfill gas to power electricity generation.

The power purchase agreement is part of Detroit Edison's efforts to expand the company's renewable energy resources. To meet the state's renewable energy goals, Detroit Edison expects to add about 1,200 MW of renewable power.

The utility plans to provide 10 percent of its power from renewable resources by 2015. Detroit Edison plans to own facilities to supply up to half of that power and contract with third-party producers for the rest.

Detroit Edison expects the majority of its renewable energy to come from wind resources, but the utility also has two solar energy pilot programs that could produce about 20 MW. The utility's renewable energy capacity under contract is now nearly 4 percent of total generation.

Detroit Edison is an investor-owned electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a unit of DTE Energy.

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