MICHIGAN

MICHIGAN

With a population of approximately 10 million, Michigan is the 10th most populous of the American states, the 11th most extensive by area, and the largest by area east of the Mississippi River. Surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, it also has more freshwater coastline than any other state in the union.

Like many centralized states, it has seen an increase in some of the more tangible effects of climate change such as increased heavy rainfall, an uptick in annual heat waves and a 63% decrease in winter ice coverage on the Great Lakes since 1970.

With a large portion of Michigan residents concentrated in and around the Great Lakes region, communities are largely dependent on them for their basic needs. Rising temperatures and increased rainfall precipitation have created blooms in Lake Erie, for example, contaminating water supplies in multiple townships surrounding Monroe County and disturbing fish populations.

Jennifer Granholm (now the Energy Secretary in the Biden administration) was Michigan’s governor from 2003-2011. She became an advocate for renewable energy development and one of her signature policies as governor was a mandate for the state to increase the share of its energy derived from renewable sources like solar and wind. She also worked with the Obama administration on a 2009 bailout of the automobile industry that included clean energy investments and incentives for carmakers to invest in technologies like battery storage.

In 2016, Michigan lawmakers debated whether to rollback or make minimal increases to their existing 10% Renewable Energy Standard. With this policy stagnation, Michigan is far behind the curve in the race to clean energy, featuring inaction from legislators and an undeterred reliance on fossil fuels. Currently there are a few bills aimed at combating climate change awaiting a vote from state legislature such as the Clean and Renewable Energy Waste Reduction Act among  others. However, given the recent voting history of Michigan lawmakers, the likelihood of meaningful climate change action does not seem close at hand.

What is most troublesome about Michigan’s inaction is that shifting resources to the environment could potentially yield such a huge boost to Michigan’s economy. Stanford University found that  fully powering Michigan with renewable energy would create 150,000 jobs, save more than 1,700 lives a year and generate an average $11,000 reduction in each citizen’s energy/health cost. Fortunately, there is a strong call for cleaner energy from Michigan’s citizens and various organizations across the state such as the Michigan Climate Action Network, which has worked to spread information regarding climate change, its effects on Michigan and what can be done to fight it. They have four major goals underlining their fight: move 100% of the state’s energy to renewable sources, electrify public transportation, put an end to the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline running through the Great Lakes, and fight for cleaner energy policies.

Good news came in September 2020, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer, citing a rising threat to public health and the environment, signed an  executive order battling climate change, aiming to make Michigan’s economy carbon-neutral by 2050. Whitmer’s decarbonization-by-2050 goal includes an interim target of a 28% reduction from 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2025. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, with the help of a newly formed Council on Climate Solutions, are now tasked with delivering a climate plan in draft for by September 1,2021 with a final plan by the end of the year.

More good news came in March, 2021 when the University of Michigan Board of Regents voted to divest from companies that are the largest contributors to greenhouse gases, which are defined as the top 100 coal and top 100 oil and gas publicly traded companies in the world, as compiled by the Carbon Underground 200 list.

Michigan is one of twenty four states, plus Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Whitmer releases plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050

01/21/22
The administration of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) on Wednesday released a draft plan that will more aggressively push the state toward carbon neutrality by 2050.

Public comment, listening sessions will help chart Michigan climate future

01/19/22
The initial draft of a statewide plan to position Michigan as a national leader in slashing greenhouse gas emissions and securing associated economic and job-creation opportunities is open for public input and comment through Feb.…

MI Healthy Climate Plan

01/14/22
Governor Whitmer’s commitment to achieving 100% carbon neutrality by 2050 and position Michigan as a global leader in addressing climate change.

Solar project planned in River Rouge to increase access to renewable energy

By Jim Kasuba 06/17/21
The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved DTE Energy’s plans to bring additional renewable energy to more of its customers.

National Grid Renewables’ MiSolar projects bring 40 MW of solar energy production to Michigan

By Chris Galford 06/15/21
With the launch of the Bingham Solar and Temperance Solar facilities in Michigan’s Clinton and Monroe counties, National Grid Renewables has launched its MiSolar portfolio, bringing 40 MW of solar energy to the state, offsetting…

Reduced fish abundance possible due to climate change warming deep waters in Lake Michigan

By Max White Photo: AP Photo/John L. Russell 05/10/21
Climate change is warming Lake Michigan's surface, but also its deep waters, which could have a significant impact on the lake's ecosystem and mixing process. A long-term study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association,…

Climate change: ‘Environmental racism’ in Detroit’s ‘most polluted’ neighbourhood

By Cordelia Lynch 04/19/21
In a corner of southwest Detroit, there's a community that's spent years grappling with the air they're breathing in. The 48217 district has become known as Michigan's "most polluted zip code". There are more than…

Consumers Energy Plans More Clean Energy for Michigan from Solar Project in Calhoun County

By Consumers Energy 03/11/21
Consumers Energy announced today an agreement to purchase 140 megawatts of clean, renewable energy – enough to power about 70,000 residential customers -- from the Calhoun Solar Center. Invenergy, a leading Midwest-based developer and operator…

Preparing for Climate Change in Michigan

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Michigan is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Climate Action Plans by Michigan Cities

04/11/19
MICAN and Michigan Green Communities have compiled this list of climate actions (plans and goals) that communities are taking across the state. This list is to help community leaders and activists move their town forward…

State of Michigan Climate Action Plan

04/10/19
Michigan is in a period of extraordinary transition and faces unprecedented challenges. Among the most compelling of these challenges is the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to address climate change and its…

KEY RESOURCES

Michigan Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

02/11/22
Solar panel costs are measured in how many watts per dollar the system can deliver. On average, a residential solar panel system costs between $3 and $5 per watt. When added up, this leads to…

Michigan State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/05/21
Known as the Great Lakes State, Michigan has portions of four of the five Great Lakes within its boundaries. The northern ends of two of the Great Lakes—Lake Michigan and Lake Huron—divide Michigan into the…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Michigan

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Michigan experienced one flood and four severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Michigan

07/31/20
Climate change is likely to increase the frequency of floods in Michigan. Ovhttps://climatenexus.org/climate-issues/business/business-climate-change/er the last 50 years, average annual precipitation in most of the Midwest has increased by 5 to 10 percent. During the next…

State Overview of Michigan

02/13/20
Cities interested in procuring renewable energy must first understand the factors that shape their state energy landscape. This overview provides a starting point by providing insight into state market and regulatory context that impacts the…

Consumers have new options to support renewable energy sources

02/13/20
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) Friday authorized Consumers Energy to move forward with two voluntary green pricing (VGP) programs, but withheld approval of a similar proposal from DTE Electric Co. to give the utility…

Michigan Energy Options

02/13/20
Michigan Energy Options (MEO) is a nonprofit that has been in business since 1978. From our offices in East Lansing and Marquette, we pursue daily our mission of guiding communities toward being more sustainable and…

Michigan Climate Action Network

06/07/19
The Michigan Climate Action Network is a network of groups and individuals working to build and mobilize a powerful grassroots movement in the Great Lakes state to call for clean energy solutions that will put us on…

MORE NEWS

Updating Michigan energy rules on new homes faces pushback from builders

By Ted Roelofs  Photo: Shutterstock   01/24/22  
Updating Michigan standards last addressed in 2015, state officials are to consider a new, more energy-efficient home construction code this year ─ likely sparking a battle between home builders and environmentalists who back stronger energy…

Governor Whitmer releases climate plan to make Michigan carbon neutral by 2050

By Briana Rice  Photo: Llmari Karonen   01/24/22  
The Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes and Energy released the draft MI Healthy Climate Plan as an outline of how the state plans to reach Governor Gretchen Whitmer's goal of getting the state carbon…

Climate change threatens Great Lakes Anishinaabek culture

By Sierra Clark  Photo: Sierra Clark , Record Eagle   01/23/22  
Clear tubing that runs hundreds of feet through 250 maple trees will need to be flushed. Trees need to be inspected for their overall health before they’re tapped, but also, Corey said, his family needs…

Clean energy, reliable grid among top energy issues in Michigan

By Rachel Duckett   01/22/22  
As a presidential candidate, Joe Biden made a series of energy-related promises, including net-zero emissions by 2050 and the launch of “a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern,…

Michigan’s new climate plan is a strong start, but environmentalists say faster action needed

By Sheri McWhirter  Photo: Nicole Hester , MLIVE.Com   01/15/22  
Environmental advocates said they are encouraged by Michigan’s new climate action plan but also want to see faster action to decarbonize the state’s economy.

Farmers chase migrating crops in a warming climate

By Sheldon Krause  Photo: Flickr   01/11/22  
As Michigan feels the effects of a changing climate, agriculture experts say they can adapt to keep Michigan farms running.

Muskegon County solar farm being built to power 3,400 homes annually

By Rose White  Photo: Pine Gate Renewables   01/07/22  
When complete, the MacBeth Solar farm will produce about 41,000 megawatt hours — enough to power about 3,400 homes annually through a 20-year agreement with Consumers Energy.

Could Fortified Wines Be Michigan’s Answer to Climate Change?

By Julia Coney  Photo: Ariela Basson   01/03/22  
Michigan, a state known as the car capital of the world, has in recent years focused on promoting itself as an up-and-coming American wine region. Michigan Wine Collaborative, a non-profit organization focused on pushing Michigan…

Community gardens help Michigan adapt to climate change

By Hope O' Dell   01/03/22  
Warming water temperatures reduce fish spawning and snow compresses on itself less during the winter –– which hurts wild rice, said Rachael Pressley, a regional planner with Western U.P. Planning and Development Region. Habitat warming…

Globalization expert predicts Michigan will be one of the best places to live in several decades

By Myesha Johnson  Photo: Jason Brower , Unsplash   12/31/21  
Heat waves in all states are projected to become more intense and global sea levels have already risen by eight inches since 1880 according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Changing Great Lakes latest threat to Michigan’s cherished Fishtown

By Aaron Martin   12/29/21  
The village of shanties along the Leland River on the Leelanau Peninsula has endured through the collapse of commercial fishing and rise of invasive species to become an attraction for 300,000 tourists.

Global Climate Change and the University of Michigan’s Path Forward

By Mark S. Schlissel   09/09/21  
Last month, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most daunting report to date, detailing how precarious the situation is for humanity as it grapples with the climate crisis.

Climate Change Is Making It Harder for Campers to Beat the Heat

By John Schwartz  Photo: Ali Lapetina   07/06/21  
Jill Laidlaw has worked for 37 years at Camp Cavell in Lexington, Mich., a little spot of paradise on Lake Huron. But she has seen trouble in paradise: climate change. Temperatures in Michigan have risen…

Metro Detroit Flooding Result of Climate Change, Underinvestment in Infrastructure, Whitmer Says

By Russ McNamara, Dorothy Hernandez  Photo: Russ McNamara   06/28/21  
Several miles of I-94 remain flooded and waterlogged trash and former treasures line streets in Detroit as the city digs out from another historic rain event. More than 6 inches of rain fell in parts…

Michigan lawmaker wants to block local bans on natural gas

By Kelly House   06/10/21  
Add Michigan to the growing list of states where Republican lawmakers hope to block local governments from enforcing the climate activism mantra to “electrify everything.”

Michigan’s Climate-Ready Future: Wetland Parks, Less Cement, Roomy Shores

By Kelly House and Keith Schneider  Photo: J. Carl Ganter , Circle of Blue   06/09/21  
As climate change alters our world, Michigan’s bounty of fresh water — if managed smartly — could be the foundation of a thriving state economy and superior quality of life.

Michigan apple growers see threat of climate change crisis through spread of fire blight

By Eric Francis   06/08/21  
Patrick and Sara McGuire have been growing apples since they were married 25 years ago. Their 150 acres in Ellsworth in northern Michigan— dubbed Royal Farms — are a mix of sweet apples and the…

Michigan Lawmakers Attempting to Prevent Local Governments from Making Energy Choices

05/25/21  
Michigan lawmakers are considering a bill (HB 4575) that would prohibit the state’s local governments from making choices about the continued use of fossil gas in homes and buildings, limiting their options to meet their…

A look at Michigan’s disappearing shorelines

By Grant Hermes   05/21/21  
 With the recent heat, it’s hard to not think about spending the day on one of Michigan’s many lakes, but there’s a growing problem for many towns along the lakes: erosion.

University of Michigan pledges to make its campuses carbon-neutral in climate change fight

By Keith Matheny  Photo: Junfu Han , Detroit Free Press   05/20/21  
Electric campus bus fleets, more energy-efficient heating and cooling in campus buildings and securing all purchased electricity from renewable sources are among the actions University of Michigan officials pledged Thursday to combat global climate change, with a goal…

Michigan farms working to combat climate change

By Sophia Lada  Photo: Shelly Allen   04/26/21  
When Shelly Allen and her husband purchased their farm in 2005, there were a lot of environmental red flags.

How persistent student organizing forced one of the largest public universities to divest from fossil fuels

By Jonathan Morris   04/09/21  
Last month, the University of Michigan became the latest to accept the obvious — that investing in the destruction of society is fundamentally counter to the mission of higher education. With its endowment of $14.2…

“As bad as an oil spill”: Tons of sediment invade Kalamazoo River after dam drawdown

By Doug Reardon   03/31/21  
You’d likely miss it if you weren’t looking for it in the Kalamazoo River.

Mid-Michigan climate advocates lobby Congress for carbon price

By Staff Reports   03/27/21  
A group of advocates from the Mt. Pleasant and Roscommon chapters of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) participated this week in a nationwide virtual lobbying push for climate legislation. The lobby meetings aim to build more…
CNN

‘Winter is vanishing’ from the deep waters of Lake Michigan

By Jennifer Gray   03/26/21  
As the globe continues to warm at an astonishing rate due to climate change, winter is shrinking at depths we've never known before, including the Great Lakes.

New problems arise for crop storage as planet gets warmer

By John Flesher  Photo by Carlos Osorio   03/26/21  
 For generations, Brian Sackett’s family has farmed potatoes that are made into chips found on grocery shelves in much of the eastern U.S.

Michigan Commission Approves Next Phase of DTE Electric’s EV Pilot Program

03/25/21  
DTE Electric to spend up to US$10.3 million on operation and maintenance costs for the program's second phase from 2021 to 2025.

$1.6M for water infrastructure projects coming to University of Michigan

By Steve Marowsky  Photo by Jacob Hamilton   03/25/21  
 The University of Michigan has received a $1.6-million award from the U.S. Department of Energy for water infrastructure efficiency projects.

Regents disinvest from holdings related to fossil fuels, commit to net-zero endowment by 2050 and invest $140 million into renewable energy

By Calder Lewis , Christian Juliano and Jared Dougall  Photo by Alec Cohen   03/25/21  
The University of Michigan Board of Regents voted to discontinue investments in companies engaged in oil reserves, oil extraction or thermal-coal extraction at Thursday’s Regents meeting. The board also committed to a net-zero investment portfolio…
MI

Michigan coastal wetlands targeted in ‘ambitious’ new Great Lakes restoration plan

By Emily Bingham  Photo by Roger Eriksson   03/23/21  
 What’s good for piping plovers, black terns and other Great Lakes birds is good for Great Lakes humans, too.

Small Town Michigan Students Are Fundraising To Add 30 KW Of Solar To Their School

By Jennifer Sensiba   03/23/21  
A group of students at a middle and high school in East Jordan, Michigan didn’t like that their school runs on fossil fuels. Instead of just being sad about it, they decided to take matters into…

As Michigan climate changes, Grand Rapids uses green space to mitigate floods

By Lester Graham  Photo by Lester Graham   03/16/21  
Climate change in the Great Lakes region means more intense storms. Already, some towns are finding they’re flooding where they never have before. One city in Michigan is finding the solution is nature.

Consumers Energy Plans More Clean Energy for Michigan from Solar Project in Calhoun County

By Consumers Energy   03/11/21  
Consumers Energy announced today an agreement to purchase 140 megawatts of clean, renewable energy – enough to power about 70,000 residential customers -- from the Calhoun Solar Center. Invenergy, a leading Midwest-based developer and operator…

Renewable energy company plans to install solar farm in Marquette by end of 2023

By Ayanna Allen   03/04/21  
Savion, a renewable energy company, plans to bring its Superior Solar Project to life by the end of 2023. The company hopes to bring a 149.7-megawatt solar energy farm to Marquette County to help educate the local…

Michigan renewable energy more resilient to cold than frozen Texas wind turbines

By Ann Pierret   02/18/21  
 The frigid temperatures across the United States have been difficult to handle in the south. Energy companies are conducting rolling black outs throughout the country to help conserve what little power they can provide right…

Consumers Energy Announces Crescent Wind Now Producing Clean Energy in Southern Michigan

02/16/21  
Energy Provider’s Wind Farms Now Powering Nearly 250,000 Residents.

I represent children in Flint, Michigan. Here’s what I’m asking Biden to do

By Corey Stern  Photo by Rebecca Cook   02/02/21  
In his first 100 days, President Biden is racing to secure comprehensive reforms that both address the immediate challenges of today’s concurrent crises and make our economy and society more resilient for the future.

Ann Arbor to lobby Michigan legislature for power to choose electricity sources

By Tom Perkins  Photo by JuwanGOAT   01/14/21  
Officials in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are working with local legislators on a bill that would give cities greater control over where their electricity comes from.

States & Cities Are Driving Climate & Clean Energy Progress

By Kit Kennedy   01/06/21  
And despite the continual crises and President Trump’s desperate efforts to turn back the clock on climate and clean energy in the United States, states, cities, and communities continued to demand and lead the fight…

January in Michigan features the cloudiest, coldest days of the year

01/05/21  
While the arrival of January includes the arrival of a new year, in Michigan, it means longstanding cold and cloudy weather.

Congressman Andy Levin Introduces Legislation Aimed At Sustainable Investments

By Annamarie Sysling   01/05/21  
Congressman Andy Levin, a Democrat representing Michigan’s 9th Congressional District, recently introduced two new pieces of legislation aimed at increasing transparency around the environmental impact of financial investments. Levin says the goal of the newly introduced Sustainable Investment…

American Girl’s ‘Girl of the Year’ for 2021 is from Michigan

By Lisa Marie   01/04/21  
She's nurturing, inquisitive, and loves wildlife...and she's from Michigan. Meet Kira Bailey, American Girl's 'Girl of the Year' for 2021. Although she is visiting her great-aunts at their wildlife sanctuary and vet clinic in Queensland, Australia,…

Bill to fight Great Lakes erosion signed into law

By Jake Draugelis   01/04/21  
The effects of rising water levels have begun to show in Michigan communities. In 2019 Lake Michigan tied the previous record high water level, in 2020 it surpassed that mark and 2021 is likely to…

Michigan winters, as generations have known them, may be coming to an end

By Keith Matheny  Photo by Eric Seals   01/04/21  
Karl Schwartz wishes he was simply chasing glory on the snowmobile racing track. Instead, in recent years, he has been forced to chase increasingly elusive cold weather.
NPR

Michigan struggles to bring back clean energy jobs

By Lester Graham  Photo by Dennis Schroeder   01/03/21  
Michigan is struggling to bring back clean energy jobs. That sector has lost more than 22,000 jobs in the state since the pandemic began. November numbers show Michigan regained only 215 clean energy jobs.

Michigan Hunters, Anglers Set 2021 Conservation Goals

By Jessica Mathews   01/01/21  
Hunters and anglers in Michigan and other states say they’re ready to work with the new administration and new Congress on key conservation issues. Director of Sporting Advocacy with the National Wildlife Federation Aaron Kindle…

2020 in Review: Climate change, COVID-19 and Michigan’s governor

By Gary Wilson   01/01/21  
When I look back at my 2020 Great Lakes Now reporting, three themes jump off the page – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, COVID-19 and climate change. In her 2018 election campaign Whitmer articulated an extensive…

Commodities 2021: States racing to set goals toward net-zero emission, 100% renewable electricity

By Kassia Micek   12/24/20  
Four more governors announced plans to put their states on a path toward 100% renewables or carbon-free emissions, bringing the total up to 12 states that are leading the US energy transition, while the recent…

Michigan Clean Energy Year in Review (and the Road Ahead)

Samantha Williams & Derrell E. Slaughter   12/21/20  
ooking back at the progress that has been made on clean energy in Michigan over this last year, framed against the tumult of 2020, is not an easy task. The human toll of COVID-19, the…

Clean energy, Line 5, electric choice on Michigan’s energy docket in 2021

By Andy Balaskovitz   12/20/20  
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order in late September creating a long-term climate change plan calling for the state to be carbon neutral by 2050.