Michigan Should Power Grid With Renewables, Reduce Energy Use, Boost Electrification in State Climate Plan

LANSING, Mich. – Nearly 30 Michigan organizations and more than 450 individuals and counting outlined key recommendations to use less energy, power the grid with renewable energy and electrify buildings, transportation and other major industries in a letter sent to The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Council on Climate Solutions. 

The Council on Climate Solutions was created to advise Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and oversee the development and implementation of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, an action plan for the state to address the impacts of climate change, reduce emissions and transition to carbon neutrality by2050. The Council on Climate Solutions is expected to make its final recommendations in the early part of 2022.

“Michigan’s climate plan must put our state on a path to a stable climate, and toward a cleaner, healthier future,” said Kate Madigan, director of the Michigan Climate Action Network. “Reducing dangerous pollution in our air and water also addresses the inequity that currently exists where some communities in our state are disproportionately impacted by reliance on fossil fuels. As we are asking EGLE and the council to review our recommendations, it is crucial the climate plan reduces emissions equitably and prioritizes environmental justice communities.”

“Right now, we are getting less than 15% of our state’s electricity from clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar,” said Charlotte Jameson, program director for legislative affairs, energy and drinking water at the Michigan Environmental Council. “It is critical that we invest heavily in energy efficiency to reduce our electricity demand and rapidly build out the wind and solar infrastructure needed to fully replace the fossil fuels generating our power. We must also focus on electrifying our transportation and building sectors, as these industries contribute heavily toward pollution that harms the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

“The transition away from fossil fuels is critical to reducing climate pollution, creating safer communities and protecting the health of all Michiganders,” said John Delurey, senior regional director at Vote Solar. “Air pollution can trigger asthma attacks, lung disease and other serious ailments, and we see those health impacts disproportionately harming under-resourced communities. Increasing Michigan's investments in solar and other renewable energy solutions can reduce dangerous pollution while repowering struggling communities."

The groups suggest that without adopting the recommendations in their letter that they view as most critical, Michigan will not likely achieve Gov. Whitmer’s climate goals and will fall short of protecting future generations.

“Michigan is at the perfect inflection point to build a stronger, more prosperous and equitable state as we take on climate change,” said Tim Minotas, legislative and political coordinator for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “It is imperative that the MI Healthy Climate Plan prioritize the urgency, scale and livelihoods of Michigan workers, and the disparate impact of climate change on vulnerable communities. At this moment, we have the opportunity to lead on climate by driving a just transition and protecting workers and growing our economy based in clean energy, sustainable manufacturing and electric transportation.”

Organizations that signed the letter include:

  • 2030 Districts Network
  • Alliance for the Great Lakes 
  • Ceres 
  • City of Ann Arbor
  • Clean Water Action
  • Detroit Greenways Coalition
  • DFD Architecture, LLC
  • Ecology Center
  • Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
  • Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition
  • Kalamazoo Nature Center
  • Leelanau Energy, Leelanau Housing Action Committee member
  • MI Air MI Health
  • Michigan Climate Action Network
  • Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action
  • Michigan Environmental Council
  • Michigan League of Conservation Voters
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Northern Michigan University
  • Peace Education Center
  • Sierra Club Michigan Chapter
  • Sisters IHM
  • Soulardarity
  • The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan
  • THRIVE Collaborative
  • Transportation Riders United
  • Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition
  • Vote Solar