Public health inequities are exacting by electricity generation from coal and gas-fired power plants. The cost should be taken into account when planning for the future. On April 28th, testimony was submitting to the Public Service Commission by an Environment Law Center on behalf of 23 individuals and organizations. In August of 2020, the Michigan Public Service Commission opened the docket. This was part of an effort to better integrate resource planning with planning for distribution and transmission. The commission also was seeking inputs on methods to incorporate environmental justice and public health considerations. Moreover, on how utilities did plan to meet future energy needs.
Integrated Resource Plans
There will be new rules for filing requirements in utilities’ integrated resource plans based on the findings. This is in regard to the utilities’ integrated resource plans. Michigan began requiring utilities to file IRPs with the MPSC every five years that project demand. Thus a mix of energy resources to meet demand over the next 5, 10 and 15 years.
Public Health Impacts
Administrative Law Judge Sally Wallace has issued a 197-page opinion in December 2019. It was on DTE Energy’s initial IRP. It forced the utility back to the drawing board. Moreover, Wallace wrote that “public health impacts, to the very extent these impacts can, therefore, be identified. Then assigned. As well as the associated costs are quantified. They should, moreover, be recognizing as part of the retirement analysis in future IRPs and that “DTE customers are living in proximity to the company’s fossil generating plants. In fact, they certainly pay healthcare costs associated with exposure to air pollutants emitted by these units.”
Adverse Health Issues
Wallace cited the work of George D. Thurston. He is a professor of Environmental Medicine at the School of Medicine in another U.S. state. In fact, Thurston has documented adverse health impacts resulting from exposure to pollutants emitted by fossil-fuel electricity generation. Decreased lung function, increased childhood asthma, and heart attacks, increased ER visits and hospitalizations, and higher death rates in those exposed to air pollution. This was noting by Thurston. He also said it is “quite feasible for a utility to evaluate public health impacts in an IRP;” and that “DTE should be, therefore, requiring to assess public health impacts. As well as their costs. It is part of its planning for fossils generating units.”