DTE joins group to cut greenhouse gas emissions


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, July 31 -- Detroit utility holding company DTE Energy Co. said it joined the Chicago Climate Exchange, a group with plans to establish a voluntary greenhouse gas pilot trading program and cut emissions 5% by 2005 from 1999 levels.

The reductions or offsets would apply to gas emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), believed to contribute to climate change and global warming. The proposed voluntary trading program will help address climate change, according to a study released in May by Chicago-based Environmental Financial Products.

DTE CEO Anthony F. Earley Jr. said the company was pleased to be a member of the first voluntary, greenhouse gas emissions trading pilot program in the US. "We hope this market- based, voluntary approach to the challenging greenhouse gas issue will prove to be a workable model for the future," he said.

Under the proposed approach, the participating firms could either directly cut their emissions, buy allowances from companies that have achieved surplus reduction credits, or establish other projects to offset greenhouse gases.

Potential offset projects could include renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, and the capture and use of agricultural and landfill methane.

Initially, the Chicago Climate Exchange will focus on Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. It is then scheduled to expand to include all of North America.

Other companies joining the design phase of the Chicago Climate Exchange include Ford Motor Co., Detroit; Suncor Energy Inc., Calgary, Alt.; BP PLC; Exelon Corp., Chicago, Ill.; Mead Corp., Dayton, Ohio; Waste Management Inc., Houston; Interface Inc., Atlanta, Ga.; Swiss Re, Zurich, Switzerland; The Nature Conservancy, IT Group Inc., Monroeville, Penn.; and Nuon International BV, the Netherlands.

DTE Energy's principal operating subsidiaries Detroit Edison and Michigan Consolidated Gas serve 3 million Michigan.

DTE Energy said it avoided or offset nearly 6.5 million tons of CO2 emissions in 1999. The activities included tree planting, power plant, and transmission and distribution system efficiency improvements, and operation of 28 landfill gas-to-energy recovery facilities.

The company said the projects and increased nuclear plant generation since 1990 have offset the additional CO2 emissions resulting from increased fossil fuel power generation.

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