Wednesday, 20 July 2011

DTE Energy Gets Federal Grant

DTE Energy Company (NYSE:DTE) received a $5.4 million federal grant through the Clean Energy Coalition to fund the conversion of more than 170 gasoline-powered fleet vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (“CNG”).

Clean Energy Coalition is an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working with public and private partners to develop and implement clean energy technologies and strategies. Its Green Fleets initiative helps Michigan-based companies deploy clean-fueled vehicles and build the necessary fueling infrastructure to support them.

The grant, which was awarded to Clean Energy Coalition’s Green Fleets program by the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also pays for the construction of two new CNG fueling stations and the refurbishment of 11 others across Michigan. The two new stations are in Melvindale and in East China Township.

Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. (MichCon) with the grant is converting 173 brand new Ford service vehicles to operate on CNG. MichCon, a unit of DTE Energy, is more than matching the grant with $6.8 million for the purchase of base service vehicles and additional CNG station upgrades.

CNG fuel prices currently average about $1.95 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) compared to gasoline prices of $3.70 a gallon. In addition, natural gas vehicles can produce significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than diesel or gasoline powered cars and trucks.

DTE Energy Company is supported by its stable and growing utilities business and its complementary non-utility businesses. Going forward, the growth momentum will be maintained by beneficial regulatory policies in Michigan, higher rates and a strong balance sheet.

However, we believe valuation continues to be restrained by the present unfavorable macro backdrop, lower demand for electricity, the dismal Michigan economy and pending regulatory cases. The company presently retains a short-term Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) that corresponds with our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

Detroit-based, DTE Energy is a holding company with subsidiaries engaged in regulated and unregulated energy businesses. Detroit Edison Company and Michigan Consolidated Gas Company are its largest regulated subsidiaries. DTE Energy also has four non-utility segments engaged in a variety of energy-related business. DTE Energy’s unregulated businesses include gas pipelines and storage, unconventional gas exploration, development and production; power and industrial projects and coal transportation and marketing, and energy marketing and trading operations.


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