Belle River Power Plant

From Global Energy Monitor

Belle River Power Plant is a 1,395.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by DTE Electric near China, Michigan.,


The plant is located in St. Clair County, Michigan, on the peninsula formed by the St. Clair and Belle rivers.

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Plant Data

  • Owner:
  • Parent Company: DTE Energy
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,395.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 697.5 MW (1984), Unit 2: 697.5 MW (1985)
  • Location: 4505 King Rd., China, MI 48054, United States
  • GPS Coordinates: 42.774537, -82.495302
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub-Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Decker Mine (Decker Coal), Spring Creek coal mine (Navajo Nation)[3]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Units 1 & 2 are planned to retire by 2028.[4][5]

Unit Retirements

In May 2017, DTE said it would retire its Belle River Power Plant in 2030 and its Monroe Power Plant in 2040.[6]

According to the EIA 860 database, Unit 1 was planned retire in 2029 and Unit 2 in 2030.[4]

In 2021, the plant was expected to cease use of coal in 2028, two years earlier than planned.[5]


MPPA has a 37.22% ownership share in Unit 1 according to its own website with entitlement to 19% of output from both units.[2] DTE stated the same in their SEC 10-k filing over 2019[1] EIA stated both units as a joint ownership based on the way the power output from both units is devided.[7]

Coal Supply

The Belle River Power Plant uses a shared coal facility with the St. Clair Power Plant located just to the east of their location. In the EIA 923 database their shared coal facility is stated as BRSC Shared Storage (plant id 8841), a abbreviation for Belle River Saint Clair Shared Storage. Both power plants also have their own seperate coal storage that would allow delivert directly from coal suppliers.[3]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 8,797,833 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 24,128 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 7,565 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 276 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Belle River Power Plant

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[8] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[9]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Belle River Power Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 59 $430,000,000
Heart attacks 96 $10,000,000
Asthma attacks 930 $48,000
Hospital admissions 44 $1,000,000
Chronic bronchitis 35 $16,000,000
Asthma ER visits 49 $18,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "DTE Energy Company 10-K filing, page 100", accessed October 25, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Belle River Unit No.1" accessed October 25, 2020
  3. 3.0 3.1 "EIA 923 July 2020" EIA 923 July 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "EIA 860m July 2020", 860m database, accessed October 25, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "DTE Belle River Power Plant to cease use of coal in 2028, two years earlier than planned," Times Herald, October 14, 2021
  6. "DTE to shut coal plants, cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050," Reuters, May 16, 2017
  7. "EIA 860 2018", 860 database, accessed October 25, 2020.
  8. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  9. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010


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