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Learn About Energy

Two white electric cars parked on a brick road, hooked up to a single charging station.
Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Learn About Energy

Did you know? We collaborate with stakeholders and utilities to maximize energy benefits through energy efficiency, heating assistance, education, emergency preparedness, outreach and advocacy.

Energy management is the key to reducing the amount of energy you use which can reduce your impact on the environment. Energy management is the process of tracking the energy you use, finding opportunities to reduce the amount of energy needed, acting on those opportunities, and continuing to monitor your energy. Using active energy management, you can take control of your electric bill.


Two children in a home, one holding a regular lightbulb and one holding a CFL bulb

Energy at Home

STEP 1: TRACK YOUR ENERGY USE
First, you need to know how much energy you are using. Your utility may have a dashboard to track your energy usage, and there are free online tools such as My Energy Star.

STEP 2: BECOME ENERGY EFFICIENT
Second, conduct an energy audit and replace inefficient items (lighting, insulation, windows and doors, appliances). Contact your utility to request an energy audit and discuss current energy efficiency rebate offerings.

STEP 3: PURSUE RENEWABLE ENERGY
Once your home is as efficient as possible, pursue renewable energy. The most common for residents are Solar energy or Geothermal energy.

An older man in a grease-stained shirt, leaning against the counter of a mechanic shop, representing local small business

Communities and Businesses

Communities and businesses can take control of their energy usage through active Energy Management best practices. The State Energy Program supports businesses and communities by providing technical and financial assistance through a variety of programs each year to catalyze growth and jumpstart Michigan entities in reaching their own energy goals.

Learn More
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Transportation

Passenger vehicles account for approximately 60% of transportation pollution. Electric Vehicles and the charging infrastructure needed to support EVs are a key component on our path to decarbonization. 

Office of Future Mobility and Electrification

Charge Up Michigan

Michigan Clean Cities

Passenger Electric Vehicle Information

Electrical Solar installation

Resources

Want to learn more? 

Energy Savings at Home

Home Energy Saver Planning Tool

Energy Waste Reduction

Michigan Public Service Commission - Consumers

Michigan Energy Assistance Program

Electric Vehicle Information

Michigan Saves provides low-interest financing to implement energy improvements, both for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects for your home.

Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Electric, natural gas, and propane bills can have a major impact on household budgets. For people having trouble paying their energy bills, it is extremely important to know that help may be available. There are several energy assistance programs for eligible senior citizens and low-income customers. 

    Contact your utility company or propane supplier as soon as you know you will be unable to pay your bill on time. If you are not able to pay the bill in full, making a partial payment is better than not paying anything at all

    Get Help by Calling 2-1-1
    211 is a one-stop, around the clock, free phone service that links people with information or agencies that can help with utility assistance, rent payments, child and elder care, emergency shelters, job training, counseling, and other services.

    Dial 211 or go online at mi211.org to get connected to information about available services.

  • Weatherization (or weatherproofing) is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements and of modifying a building be more energy efficient.

    If you need help paying for weatherization costs, and you meet eligibility requirements, you may be able to get help from state programs that uses federal money to assist low-income families with energy costs through the Weatherization Assistance Program.

    Michigan Saves provides low-interest financing to implement energy improvements, both for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects for your home.

  • You may be considering the option of adding a solar energy system to your home’s roof or finding another way to harness the sun’s energy. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solar solution, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technology Office created the Homeowner’s Guide to Going Solar with resources that can help you figure out what’s best for you. 

    You can also contact the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association or Michigan Saves to learn about different programs, contractors and financing opportunities for going solar.

  • As we move away from dependence on fossil fuel energy production and the need and demand for alternative energy sources continues to grow, wind and solar development will likely play a key part in this transition and expand in Michigan. Technological advances are making wind turbines and solar panels more efficient and more cost-effective across the state. There are currently a number of utility-scale wind and solar energy projects being constructed and in the development queue, along with growing construction of small-scale systems throughout the state.

    In addition to growing demand for renewable energy from customers and businesses in Michigan, the state has many goals and policies in place that wind and solar energy development will serve a large part in reaching. These include the Renewable Portfolio Standard policy, Michigan's commitments through the U.S. Climate Alliance, and the state's goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. There are also a number of cities in the state that have made commitments to climate action or energy goals, including Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor.

  • While wind turbines are almost always placed in rural environments, solar energy can fit into urban or suburban settings. Rooftop panels and small ground-mount systems offer opportunities to place solar on urban or suburban properties, and typically the power produced is used to provide on-site electricity. 

    But there are instances of urban solar projects where the power is sold directly to the grid.  One way that larger solar energy systems can fit into urban areas is with solar carports. This is a way to utilize already developed land for solar energy production, while also offering the benefit of shading parked cars. Michigan State University has a solar carport project that covers 5,000 parking spots on campus.  Additionally, land that is of marginal quality can be ideal sites for solar energy production. Marginal quality land can include brownfield sites, former industrial land, landfills, and other sites that are not ideal for development. Solar panels can be developed and installed so that they don’t penetrate the ground and don’t require as much remediation on sites as other kinds of development do. In this way, they offer an economic development opportunity for land that is compromised or has other developmental challenges.

  • Despite some of the best wind resources in the state being over the Great Lakes, Michigan does not currently have any off-shore wind projects. The primary challenge of placing wind development offshore is the cost - it is more expensive for construction and maintenance than onshore development, and there is additional regulation required for offshore projects. However, as technology improves the cost is declining and we are seeing more offshore projects being developed. The first offshore wind development in the U.S. came online in 2016 near Block Island, Rhode Island, and there is more planned along the East Coast.

    An additional challenge for offshore wind development in Michigan is that the Great Lakes are freshwater lakes that are prone to freezing. This presents additional obstacles that are not faced by projects along the ocean coasts. There is currently an offshore wind project being planned in Lake Erie off the coast of Cleveland, with the fitting name of Icebreaker Wind Power Project.

  • Utility-scale wind turbines (those that are part of large wind development projects) have gotten taller as technology has advanced, which allows access to steadier wind speeds and more efficient energy generation. Most of the existing wind turbines in Michigan were built between 2010 and 2018, and are just under 500 feet tall. Turbines that were constructed earlier than 2010 tend to be about 325-400 feet tall, and newer wind turbines tend to be taller than 500 feet tall.

    This image a diagram of how large windmills are compared to Silos and the Statue of Liberty

    Note: New silos may be 300 feet tall, whereas older silos often ranged from 30’ to 100’.

  • There are often concerns about the effects of renewable energy developments on wildlife. For both wind and solar projects, the most immediate impact in the disruption and displacement of habitats during construction of the projects.

    For wind turbines specifically, there is often concern of harm to bird and bat populations. While turbines can present obstacles to birds and bats, many organizations like the National Audubon Society support property sited wind turbines as a way to combat climate change, which poses an even greater threat to these species than the turbines themselves. There are resources and recommendations on best practices for siting, including those from the American Wind Wildlife Institute and tools like that from the Nature Conservancy that can map areas of low potential conflict with species.

    When examining impacts to wildlife from solar development, one consideration is the impact of the required fences around the development. The National Electric Code requires developers to install a 6-7 foot fence around solar energy projects, which may impede movement of large wildlife species.