|  Feb 02, 2024

Michigan is a Midwestern Clean Energy Leader

Holly FritzHolly Fritz, Communications/Policy Associate
Michigan is a Midwestern Clean Energy Leader
Holly FritzHolly Fritz, Communications/Policy Associate

Renewable energy has undergone significant change in the last ten years. The U.S. now receives over 10 percent of its electricity from clean energy – a significant amount of which comes from the Midwest, a central hub for wind and solar generation. As generation increases, Michigan has taken action to meet the demands of the upper Midwest. Developments in the state's wind and solar sectors have positioned Michigan as a leader in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Ranking 17th in the nation for operating wind, solar and storage capacity, Michigan is reaching new heights in terms of renewable energy in the state. As of September, 2023, over 1.7 million homes were powered by wind, solar and storage. Renewables have generated $8 billion in capital investments for the state, as well as an impressive $61.3 million in annual local tax payments and about $46.7 million in annual land lease payments for rural landowners.

Michigan's growing renewable energy sector has been a welcome change for the state's economy, as well as its environment. Wind and solar power generation creates no emissions and uses virtually no water. Michigan's wind, solar, and storage sectors helped save 3 billion gallons of water in 2022 and have avoided over 10 million metric tons of CO2 — the equivalent of taking over 2 million cars off the road.

Michigan's solar sector is also projected to skyrocket. As of September, 2023, Michigan ranked 24th in the nation for installed solar energy with 1,314 MW. Michigan is projected to add an astounding 3,415 MW over the next five years. The cost of solar has dropped 42 percent since 2014, making it one of the lower-cost sources of electricity generation in the nation. Currently, Michigan's electricity is made up of 1.25 percent solar energy, enough to power 230,530 homes. Michigan's solar industry employs 4,073 citizens through its 223 solar companies. The solar industry has invested $1.7 billion in the state.

As America's energy sector transitions to a clean energy economy, states across the nation are preparing for a future with huge growth in clean jobs. Michigan is a leader in clean energy jobs, ranking 1st in the Midwest with over 120,000 jobs. Renewable energy like wind and solar employs over 12,000 Michiganders.

Renewable energy accounted for 12 percent of the state's electricity in 2022, most of which came from wind, which has been Michigan's largest source of clean energy generation since 2013.

Michigan ranks 16th in the nation for wind generation capacity. There are 42 wind farms in the state of Michigan, with a generating capacity of 3,768 MW.

As the state welcomes more clean energy projects, ratepayers will continue to benefit from low-cost clean energy, new jobs will emerge in urban and rural communities, and businesses will continue to grow. Michigan's robust clean energy sector is a great example of why renewable energy is just smart for the Midwest – and there will be plenty more benefits to look forward to.

by Holly FritzHolly Fritz
Communications/Policy Associate