Company confirms they are evaluating options in and around Lapeer County


LAPEER COUNTY — To fight emissions in the air, DTE Energy is looking for solutions underground and their search for carbon sequestration options has led them to Lapeer County.

According to landowners in Attica and Arcadia townships, a contractor working for the energy company has approached them hoping to acquire subsurface property rights.

A graphic from DTE Energy informational material illustrates the depth underground that carbon sequestration will take place.

“At this time, we are currently in the preliminary phase of evaluating potential sequestration sites in and around Lapeer County which provide a safe and suitable solution for the long-term storage of carbon,” said DTE Energy spokesperson Clare Liening.

“Carbon capture and sequestration projects are a multi-year process with extensive permitting and planning involved.”

The process involves capturing carbon dioxide before it can be released into the atmosphere, compressing it and transforming it from gas into liquid. The CO2 is then transported via pipeline to a sequestration site. The liquid is then injected underground “under an impermeable layer of rock for safe and permanent sequestration,” according to informational literature provided by DTE to property owners.

Liening said the company does not have a timetable as to how long the evaluation process will take.

Is it safe?

Carbon sequestration reservoirs are deep beneath the soil surface and isolated from usable groundwater resources, DTE says.

Michigan’s geological formations—like sandstone and caprock—are ideal for storing carbon underground, they point out.

The sandstone’s solid but porous nature provides “naturally occurring trapping mechanisms” to keep CO2 permanently sequestered. Caprock or shale create an impermeable seal above and around the reservoir rock, preventing any fluid or gas from traveling beyond the reservoir.

“An intensive permitting, monitoring and reporting regime ensures the CO2 remains safely and permanently sequestered,” DTE literature states.

Land used for sequestration can be utilized as normal above the surface, they add.

Why is DTE pursuing this?

Reducing emissions is the company’s primary strategy for decarbonization, Liening said, but in some applications, carbon capture and sequestration “could play an important role.”

In 2019, the company announced their pathway to net zero by 2050. That includes tripling their renewable capabilities in renewable capabilities and cutting their carbon emissions in half for electricity generation. They also aim to reduce the greenhouse gases by more than six million metric tons through their gas service operations. The company has 2.2 million electric customers and 1.3 million gas customers.

Liening notes that their pathway to net zero aligns with Michigan’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“We are optimistic about the role carbon capture and sequestration could play in helping DTE and others to reach net zero goals, while contributing to a smooth and reliable shift to a clean power generation portfolio through which we can continue to deliver safe and affordable electricity to our customers,” she added.