Writer: Guest

Shawn Patterson: “What We Do Impacts Our Communities, Our Customers, and Our World."

Published On June 12, 2023

Shawn Patterson, VP, environmental management and safety, DTE Energy, and member of the SBND Leadership Committee, shares his perspective on mitigating climate change as a top priority.

When you’ve been in business a while, you come to understand that there is no such thing as “just business.” What we do impacts our communities, our customers, and our world. That’s part of why, at DTE Energy, we’ve built sustainability into our plans for the future to help ensure that we’re going above and beyond for what matters most.


Climate change is one of the defining issues of our era. That’s why last fall, DTE Electric unveiled our 2022 CleanVision Integrated Resource Plan, our proposal to fundamentally transform the way we produce electricity in our state, accelerating coal plant retirements and investing in cleaner Michigan-made energy – including wind and solar parks – to accelerate reductions in carbon emissions.

These plans include MIGreenPower which gives both business and residential customers the opportunity to support clean energy infrastructure right here in Michigan without needing to install or maintain it themselves. Michigan businesses have already gotten involved in this program in a big way.

Corporate leaders Ford and Stellantis made two of the largest renewable energy purchases ever from a utility in the U.S. in 2022, adding more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy to their automotive operations. This, combined with more than 85,000 residential enrollees, the MIGreenPower program is on pace to avoid as many as three million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, helping create a cleaner future for all.

While natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels, we offer ways for customers to offset their natural gas usage, too, with the Natural Gas Balance program. For a small fee, the program uses carbon offsets to protect forests across the Upper Peninsula and support the advancement of non-fossil fuels with renewable natural gas. This program is designed to play a role as we aspire to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.


We also strive to help the businesses that support our communities with ways to make their operations more energy efficient. With our business energy advisors, business owners can find the right energy-efficient solutions for their operations. From business-specific tips and changes to technologies to help make it easier, we are here to guide our customers toward a more energy-efficient way of doing business.

But carbon reduction isn’t the only thing we’re working on. We also strive to build a Michigan-based set of suppliers. DTE has invested nearly $18 billion with Michigan-based suppliers since 2010, creating and sustaining 65,000 Michigan jobs. As a founding member of Pure Michigan Business Connect, we recognize the importance of connecting with local suppliers and we require that most new bids include at least two Michigan companies. Sustaining local businesses as well as our environment are key components to building a better future for all of Michigan.


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