clean renewable energy

Groups Advocate for Clean Energy Investments in State Budget on Earth Day

Published on April 22, 2024

Non-partisan groups ask lawmakers to prioritize funding for clean transportation, whole home retrofits, clean energy law implementation

LANSING, Mich. – Today, on Earth Day, a coalition of non-partisan Michigan groups asked lawmakers to harness the state budget to make critical investments to protect our air, land and water for the future of our state. 

The coalition highlighted priority investments for more affordable energy, clean buildings, clean mobility and transportation, along with implementing the state’s historic 100% clean energy standard. 

“We must improve the quality, safety and affordability of existing attainable and low-income housing so it is free of pollutants, residents are staying warm through the winters and homes are resilient to the effects we’re experiencing here in Michigan due to climate change,” said Carlee Knott, Energy and Climate Policy Coordinator for the Michigan Environmental Council. “Weatherization and energy efficiency puts money back into people’s pockets, saving on monthly utility bills. With high inflation, this is a golden opportunity to lower costs for families and protect our air, land and water.”

“Converting state and municipal fleet vehicles to cleaner fuels, along with upgrading our infrastructure to support them, is critically important to reducing the emissions from the transportation sector in our communities,” said Jane McCurry, Executive Director for Clean Fuels Michigan. “With the global shift toward clean and advanced mobility, Michigan must continue to lead in this pivotal moment.”

"The historic clean energy legislation that passed last year must be matched with investments in the state budget," said Derrell Slaughter, Michigan Policy Director, Climate and Energy at NRDC. “The funding will empower the public service commission to efficiently and equitably transition to renewable and other clean energy sources, ensuring all Michiganders fully benefit.”

“It is critical to maintain and improve local buses in communities across Michigan – because let’s face it – not everyone can drive or afford a car, and we all need reliable ways of getting to work, doctor’s appointments, school and more,” said Megan Owens, Executive Director for Transportation Riders United. “This investment will make it easier for more Michiganders to use clean, healthy, affordable alternatives to driving, as both the MI Healthy Climate Plan and the Growing Michigan Together Council said we need.” 

“The Michigan budget is a reflection of how we view our state and what we prioritize,” said Chris Semrinec, State Government Affairs Manager for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “That is why it’s so critical for Michigan lawmakers to support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget recommendations in these areas and the additional priorities we’ve laid out here today.”

“Transportation is now higher than any other sector driving climate change and is a leading source of pollution causing asthma and other health impacts,” said Charles Griffith, Director of Climate and Energy Program for the Ecology Center. “A Michigan Vehicle Rebate Program that incentivizes zero-emission vehicles for those who need it most would go a long way toward making EVs more accessible to all Michiganders.”  

The comprehensive budget asks included: 

Michigan’s 100% clean energy standard

  • $6 million to hire 30 full-time employees to the Michigan Public Service Commission

Clean Buildings

  • $100 million in whole home retrofits to cover needed investments in low-income housing for weatherization, minor home repair, safety upgrades, toxin remediation, adding energy efficient electric appliances, installation of roof-top solar and residential battery back-up systems
  • Optimize the 15% Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program allocation to the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • Support and expand energy efficiency and building electrification workforce development across the state with $30 million in state and federal funds

Clean mobility and transportation

  • $50 million to provide grants to municipalities, transit authorities and ports to replace medium and heavy-duty fleet vehicles with emission-free alternatives such as EVs
  • $2 million for the state of Michigan to transition to electric vehicles
  • $65 million in funding to build out the state’s EV charging infrastructure in under-invested locations
  • $120 million in the budget for the Michigan Department of Transportation
    • $60 million for Local Bus Operating 
    • $30 million for rail operations and infrastructure 
    • $30 million for the Transportation Alternatives Program
  • $8 million in funding for electric bikes