Even if the plants are closed in the 2020s, the company still thinks it makes good business sense for its 2.1 million customers in southeastern Michigan to equip them with controls to meet the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, according to spokeswoman Randi Berris.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality authorized DTE to delay MATS compliance at the four plants until April 2016, a year after the new rule is scheduled to take effect.

DTE told the Michigan Public Service Commission in October that most of the upgrades at the plants would include a combination of activated carbon injection and dry sorbent injection technology to lower mercury emissions.
It remains possible that DTE may reduce some of River Rouge’s 651 megawatts of generating capacity in 2017 because of the EPA’s proposed National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The proposed standards could force the facility to operate with lower heat content fuel.

One coal plant that DTE has no intention of shutting down is the 3,000-megawatt Monroe, near the community of Monroe on the western shore of Lake Erie. Since 2000, the company has invested nearly $2 billion on a variety of pollution controls at the big baseload plant that burns 7 to 9 million tons of coal annually. Monroe is the largest power plant in Michigan and one of the largest in the Midwest.

In late October, DTE completed the installation of a fourth and final selective catalytic reduction system at Monroe to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide.