Detroit utility closes 50s-era River Rouge coal-fired plant

River Rouge coal-fired power plant in Michigan

DTE Energy has retired its 65-year-old River Rouge coal-fired power plant on the banks of the Detroit River.

The utility which serves Detroit and other parts of Michigan formally ceased commercial operations at the River Rouge unit on May 31. Commissioned in 1956, River Rouge eventually grew to three coal-fired units generating a total 840 MW at capacity.

River Rouge is one of three coal-fired plants being retired by DTE Energy over the next two years.

“As Michigan’s need for electricity grew over the decades, our employees at River Rouge worked together to serve our customers and communities as an engine of progress,” said Jerry Norcia, president and chief executive officer, DTE Energy. “Now that this plant has achieved its generation lifespan and we move into the next evolution of power generation, I would like to thank the men and women who gave their energy to the plant over the years and to the communities that supported them. The people who have been the backbone of our River Rouge operation will always be in our hearts and minds, and they have our company’s gratitude.”      

DTE Energy is gradually reducing its carbon footprint, relying on new renewable resources and its nuclear-fueled Fermi plant. DTE and Ford recently collaborated on a large-scale solar array at the automaker’s research center.

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At peak operation, the River Rouge plant employed almost 300 on-site jobs. It was one of the biggest generating plants in existence at the time of its commissioning.

New Jersey-based PSEG Power exited coal-fired power with the closure of its Bridgeport Harbor Station announced last week.

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