The goal of the MI Healthy Climate Plan (MHCP) is a prosperous, clean energy economic future for all Michiganders. But how best to get there? Michigan’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and Office of Climate and Energy (OCE) recently explored the question with more than 20 clean energy business leaders.
Presents LG Energy Solution Building in Holland, Mich. (via LG Energy Solution)
Meeting in the Detroit offices of Walker-Miller Energy Services, participants at the Sept. 28 Clean Energy Business Roundtable discussed needs such as skilled workforce development, federal utilization, and representatives from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, EGLE and OCE. Financial support, regulation of small businesses and promotion of equity.
Carla Walker-Miller, CEO of the company that bears her name, said that the word “fairness” appears more than ten times in the MHCP.
“We are in the midst of a transformative opportunity to create a proactive clean energy economy that is inclusive of all Michiganders and that urgently addresses climate change,” Walker-Miller said. “We have the resources, the technology and the passion to do the most important work of this generation. Kudos to Gav Whitmer and the EGLE team.”
EGLE and OCE hosted the roundtable to discuss green jobs and clean energy solutions for Michigan’s future as part of the MHCP Roadmap to a Carbon-Neutral Michigan by 2050. EGLE Director Lis Clark noted the August 16 signing of federal inflation cuts. The 2022 Act (IRA) includes $369 billion for climate and clean energy provisions nationwide – the largest climate investment ever by Congress.
“We want to keep that momentum going,” Clark said.
Anyone can join the conversation about climate action in Michigan. The Council’s quarterly virtual meetings at Climate Solutions are open to the public and the Council welcomes comments in writing to EGLE-ClimateSolutions@Michigan.gov.
Michigan’s clean energy transition is already well underway. With more than 113,000 jobs across all regions of the state — mostly in manufacturing (57%) and construction (21.7%) — the state’s clean energy workforce leads the Midwest and ranks fifth overall in the nation. In August, the latest U.S. Energy and Employment Report ranked Michigan No. 1 in energy sector job growth for 2020-21. And because of the Covid-19 pandemic, clean energy has recovered faster than the state’s overall economy.
Recent large clean energy business investments in Michigan include:
Recent state actions include:
- On September 7 and 8, Governor Whitmer signed executive orders to create jobs in Michigan by ensuring that state departments and agencies use tax credits and other resources in the IRA to build on Michigan’s manufacturing strengths, promote its labor and mobility leadership, and empower the workforce. for employees to succeed; and to reduce the cost of doing business and make Michigan more competitive by reducing the costs of energy supply and distribution and improving permitting processes.
- Gov. Whitmer’s four biennial state budgets have invested tens of millions of dollars in clean energy reforms and upgrades to state utilities, families, local governments, houses of worship and small businesses, and permanently invested in Saves Michigan, the nation’s first nonprofit green. A bank that supports small businesses and working families with financing for energy upgrades.
- The governor also announced that all Michigan state utilities will run on 100% renewable energy by 2025.
- Michigan has partnered with the governors of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin to promote the Lake Michigan EV Circuit Tour, an electric vehicle charging network that covers more than 1,100 miles of shoreline around Lake Michigan.
- In June, EGLE announced a $3.5 million grant to help Detroit-based smart city technologies NextEnergy facilitate the MiNextCities effort. Bourbon, Flint and Marquette have been selected for the three-year MiNextCities pilot project to address climate change, build resilience, improve infrastructure and accelerate the use of clean energy, smart city technology and efficient mobility solutions.
- The MHCP mandates that 40% or more of state and federal funding for climate-related initiatives benefit disadvantaged communities, emphasizing environmental justice. In August, Gov. Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce the Michigan Strategic Fund’s approval of more than $2.8 million in training center equipment support for 74 training providers around the state for employer-led workforce training, skills development, equipment training, and more.
More than 100,000 Michiganders are enrolled in the Michigan Reconnect program, which opens in 2021 and offers free or reduced-cost community college tuition to students 25 and older who have not yet earned a degree. An additional $55 million in appropriations for fiscal year 2023 was recently approved by bipartisan support. More information is available on the MEDC’s Michigan Workforce and Talent website.