DETROIT, Aug. 3, 2001 — Detroit Edison has filed data with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the utility’s emissions from burning fossil fuels at its power plants that produced electricity for customers during 2000. As a result of naturally occurring variables in fuel and other operational factors emissions of some materials are higher and some lower than last year. The report includes additional chemicals and compounds not included in previous annual emissions reports.
This is the third year that Detroit Edison and utilities across the country have submitted emissions information compiled under expanded EPA reporting requirements. The EPA’s reporting requirements for electric utilities, part of community right-to-know legislation, are known as the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).
The listing available publicly, is a database of information on the release of more than 650 chemicals by private companies and government facilities. Emissions of specific chemicals are reported annually for each facility in pounds emitted, as required by federal rules.
The EPA concluded in a 1998 report to Congress that power plant emissions pose a minimal impact to human health and the Electric Power Research Institute also concluded that power plant stack emissions pose minimal risks to public health.
This year the EPA has added seven new chemicals and two chemical compounds to the existing reporting requirements, reclassified 18 chemicals and chemical compounds as persistent bioaccumulative toxics (PBTs), including mercury and dioxin, and established lower reporting thresholds for PBTs. All industries, including electric utilities that meet these lower thresholds, must comply with the new reporting requirements beginning July 2001. Because Detroit Edison believes the public is interested, it has voluntarily provided data regarding mercury and dioxin before it was mandated by the EPA. Other compounds added by the EPA are polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs) that are found in fossil fuels. Most PACs found in fossil fuels are destroyed during the combustion process.
“Detroit Edison is committed to the generation of electricity in an environmentally acceptable manner,” said Skiles Boyd, Detroit Edison director of Environmental Management and Resources. “The company continually works to reduce its emissions utilizing coal blending technology and emissions controls.”
Detroit Edison remains committed to keeping emissions as low as possible while still providing economical, reliable electrical service to its customers. Working within Michigan’s stringent environmental regulations, Detroit Edison has aggressively reduced air emissions since 1974. Sulfur dioxide emissions have been cut by 63 percent, nitrogen oxide by 49 percent and particulate matter by 91 percent, at the same time, net fossil electric generation increased by 22 percent. Currently, the utility is engaged in a $620 million nitrogen oxide emission reduction effort at its power plants. These projects will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions an additional 65 percent to 70 percent.
While metals such as chromium, nickel, lead and arsenic are emitted by burning coal, the majority of these potentially hazardous materials are captured and disposed of in regulated and monitored containment facilities.
Detroit Edison produces about 85 percent of the electricity needed for its 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan at seven coal-fired power plants with the remainder produced by nuclear power and natural gas. The company relies heavily on coal because it has proven to be an economic, domestically available and abundant fuel. Detroit Edison maintains a mix of fuels — coal, nuclear and natural gas — in order to produce reasonably priced, reliable supplies of electricity for its customers.
DTE Energy Co. (NYSE: DTE – news), Detroit Edison’s parent company, is developing alternative energy sources through its other subsidiaries. These sources include solar energy, landfill gas-to-energy, distributed generation and fuel cells that convert natural gas into electricity to power cars and homes.
Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents® is one of the first programs in the nation to offer customers the choice of purchasing solar energy through the electrical grid. DTE Biomass Energy, a subsidiary of DTE Energy, owns or operates more than 28 landfill gas recovery facilities throughout the United States. Plug Power, a joint venture with Mechanical Technology Inc. and DTE Energy, is developing and preparing to market fuel cells for residential power generation and automotive use.
DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. DTE Energy’s principal operating subsidiaries are Detroit Edison, an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan, and Michigan Consolidated Gas, serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. Information about DTE Energy is available at http://www.dteenergy.com .
SOURCE: Detroit Edison