MDEQ approves permit for new DTE power plant

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved a permit that will allow DTE Energy to build a power plant on Ford Motor Co’s. Research and Engineering Center here.

MDEQ Air Quality Division Acting Director Mary Ann Dolehanty released the news April 13, saying, “After careful consideration of the issues and pursuant to the delegation of authority from the director of MDEQ, I have approved PTI No. 144-17 with modifications made to the proposed permit conditions.”

Under the permit DTE will install and operate, “two new natural gas-fired combined cycle combustion turbine generators with associated hear recovery steam generators and duct burners and an emergency engine” according to a MDEQ press release.

The power plant will be at 1641 Carol Shelby Way to power the REC as part of Ford’s $1.2 billon redevelopment in Dearborn.

“DTE will build, own and operate a host of advanced sustainability systems including natural air flow ventilation, geothermal heating and cooling, and solar in a state-of-the-art energy infrastructure serving the REC,” a DTE press release read.

“DTE’s infrastructure scope includes constructing, owning and operating a highly efficient, gas-fired combined heat and power plant, chilled and hot water systems, distribution systems, thermal energy storage and a geothermal system designed to increase the efficiency of the chilled and hot water facilities.”

Ford currently has five boilers which provide steam to the REC and plans to close three in the immediate future and two remaining boilers in the future with the permit now approved.

The “‘ultra-low’ emission energy infrastructure of the future,” as referred to in a DTE press release, will include Ford replacing five low efficiency boilers which are up to 60 years old.

Remaining steam generated can be used to make additional electricity for the grid, according to the MDEQ.

The AQD received 38 written comments and 25 verbal comments during the public hearing. Concerns ranged from pollution, emissions from the plant, health impact, the plant being close to schools and a hospital in the area, air quality and possible technology upgrades.

During the meeting, MDEQ Permit Engineer Catherine Asselin said the proposed power plant would generate less than 100 tons of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides a year. Also, less than 15 tons of volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide would be generated annually.

Asselin said because the plant size allows it to be under the 100-tons-per-year threshold DTE is not required to use advanced technology for its air cleaning at the plant.

A public information session and public comment meeting was held at Edsel Ford High School on March 27 where residents received information and voiced concerns.

For more information on the DTE permit go to  www.deq.state.mi.us/aps/cwrep.shtml.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.

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