(AP) — Michigan regulators have approved DTE Energy’s request to build a nearly $1 billion natural gas power plant as it retire coal-fired plants.

It is the first approval of a major new plant for one of the state’s regulated utilities in decades.

The Michigan Public Service Commission OK’d the plant Friday, despite opposition from environmental groups and others that favor renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs.

Construction will begin in 2019. The plant will open in 2022. It will be located at DTE’s Belle River Power Plant site in East China Township in St. Clair County.

PSC Chairwoman Sally Talberg says the plant has the best combination of operational, reliability and economic attributes to fill a need for power.

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