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Michigan blazes a trail in federal climate investments and transformative clean energy policy
January 10, 2024
Annual MI Healthy Climate Plan Report details Michigan’s historic legislative victories and key efforts establishing Michigan as a national leader in clean energy and climate action
Michigan leads the nation in federal climate investments, strategic initiatives, and groundbreaking legislative victories that put our great state on track to achieve 100% clean energy by 2040 while creating thousands of jobs. Michigan’s commitment is exemplified by the MI Healthy Climate Plan 2023 Report, an annual report developed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s (EGLE) Office of Climate and Energy (OCE). The report provides a summary of 2023 progress on the implementation of the State’s MI Healthy Climate Plan (MHCP).
“Michigan is leading the nation on clean energy and climate action,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Last year, I signed a game-changing package of clean energy legislation including a 100% clean energy standard by 2040, efficiency upgrades to lower costs for consumers, and the strongest labor standards in the country so we build American energy using American workers. Our commitment to taking climate action while creating jobs and lowering costs will make a real difference in people’s lives. This report caps one of the most productive years in EGLE history. Together, let’s keep building a brighter future for Michigan.”
Anchored in legislative victories, state investment and action, and federal investments, the MHCP positions Michigan as a national leader in clean energy and climate action. By implementing policies that reduce costs; protect land, air, water, and public health; foster equity; and create family-sustaining jobs, Michigan is creating a blueprint for a more sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all.
According to the 2023 Clean Jobs Midwest report, Michigan was No. 1 in the Midwest for clean energy jobs, and the sector is growing twice as fast as the overall economy.
“Michigan’s investment in climate initiatives is not just about policy; it’s about creating a positive and lasting impact on the lives of Michiganders today and for generations to come,” said EGLE Director Phil Roos. “Through strategic investments outlined in the MI Healthy Climate Plan, we are charting a path toward a more sustainable future while ensuring real benefits for our communities. From creating high-quality jobs to reducing energy costs and improving the overall quality of life, these initiatives are a commitment to making Michigan a better place for everyone who calls it home.”
Michigan has an all-of-government approach to climate and has worked to incorporate climate into existing programs and launch new programs including the new MI Healthy Climate Corps and the EGLE climate liaisons. Below are some of the accomplishments and initiatives highlighted in the MI Healthy Climate Plan 2023 Report.
Legislative victories set Michigan on path to success
The passage of key legislation reflects a dedication to reducing carbon emissions and a comprehensive approach to fostering economic growth, job creation, and energy affordability.
Key legislative highlights include:
- Michigan’s Clean Energy Leadership: Michigan’s commitment to a 100% clean energy standard by 2040 positions the state as a national leader, making it one of the most progressive states in the nation on clean energy and the strongest state on clean energy policy in the Midwest.
- Historic Commitment to Renewable Energy: The new laws drive progress by establishing a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030 and 60% by 2035. They also streamline the siting process for large-scale wind, solar, and storage projects.
- Increased Access to Rooftop Solar: The new law expands the cap for distributed generation to 10%, allowing more families and businesses to generate electricity with rooftop solar.
- Lower Energy Costs: The new laws increase Michigan’s Energy Waste Reduction (EWR) standard to 1.5% and set a goal of 2% for electric and gas utilities. It is expected to save Michigan households an average of $145 annually in energy costs.
- Environmental Justice and Equity: The new laws prioritize environmental justice and equity in clean energy programs, ensuring that the state’s utility regulator, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), considers climate, environmental justice, and nondiscrimination in decision-making.
- Connecting and Training Michiganders for Jobs of the Future: The new laws created the Office of Worker and Community Economic Transition. The new office will support workers and communities to ensure they can take full advantage of the good-paying clean-energy jobs of the future.
Strategic state funding for a sustainable future
Michigan is committed to a sustainable future and is working to implement the strategies and initiatives proposed in the MHCP. The combined FY 2023 supplemental and the FY 2024 budget allocated over a billion dollars on climate and clean energy-related initiatives, further solidifying Michigan’s position as a national leader. This comprehensive funding package covers deploying more clean energy, increasing access to clean transportation, repairing and upgrading homes, reducing disparities in environmental justice communities, and more, showcasing the state’s dedication to economy-wide decarbonization and a greener and equitable tomorrow.
Key funding initiatives will:
- Clean the Electric Grid: $265 million in investments to generate clean energy, enhance the electric grid, and incentivize local communities to host utility-scale solar.
- Electrify Vehicles and Increase Public Transit: $261 million for mobility upgrades, including helping school districts buy clean buses and expanding clean transportation options.
- Repair and Decarbonize Homes and Businesses: $312 million invested in weatherizing homes, clean energy upgrades, and energy efficiency initiatives.
- Protect Michigan’s Land and Water: $14.4 million invested to protect forests and wetlands and encourage the purchase of Michigan-grown and -raised products.
- Commit to Environmental Justice and Pursue a Just Transition: $21 million for environmental justice initiatives, including improving air quality and expanding activities that reduce environmental impacts in frontline communities, or communities that experience the most immediate and worst impacts of climate change.
- Foster Cross-Sector Collaborations: $383.1 million was invested in climate action initiatives, including $2.1 million to launch the MI Healthy Climate Corps, which will help communities take climate action while creating jobs.
Michigan: A national leader in clean energy
Michigan is a national leader in bringing federal tax dollars home – particularly on climate-related funding, surpassed only by California. The state has secured nearly $1.3 billion to help lower energy costs, reduce power outages, create thousands of jobs, and more. Under the Biden Administration, Michigan has invested $9.6 billion in public infrastructure and clean energy. According to a recent report by Climate Power, Michigan is No. 1 in the nation, with 24 new clean energy projects.
Find a link to the MI Healthy Climate Plan 2023 Report and more information on the plan’s hub page.
In 2020, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Directive 2020-10, which charged EGLE, through its OCE, with developing the MCHP. The MHCP committed Michigan to 100% carbon neutrality by 2050 with interim greenhouse gas emission reductions of 52% by 2030 and 26% by 2025 as compared to 2005 levels. The MHCP was released in April 2022, after extensive stakeholder engagement that included consultation with tribal governments; meetings with the Council on Climate Solutions, workgroup members, and key stakeholders; and consultation from the Michigan Advisory Council on Environmental Justice.