A new initiative in Michigan to encourage and guide individuals and businesses in the transition to clean energy has been launched by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Public Service Commission.
Called MI Power Grid, the initiative will serve as a centralized source for information and is designed to engage utility customers and other stakeholders to help integrate new clean energy technologies. It also will produce feedback to help utilities optimize grid investments for reliable, affordable electricity service.
The MIPowerGrid.com website also will provide information on events, MPSC actions on renewable energy and participation opportunities.
Over the past decade, Michigan has increased renewable energy production well past 10 percent of utility electricity sales, with the top two energy companies, DTE Energy Co. and Consumers Energy Co., investing billions of dollars in wind, solar and other clean energy sources. Utilities are expected to surpass the 15 percent mark for renewable energy by 2021.
DTE and Consumers have been replacing more than a dozen coal-fired generation plants with other relatively cleaner electricity sources. DTE will build two natural gas-fired plants along with solar and wind sources, while Consumers will invest totally in wind and solar. Utilities are also reducing greenhouse gases by waste reduction and efficiency programs.
MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg said it’s important for state government to have input from a wide variety of perspectives as MI Power Grid helps shape the state’s energy future.
“The energy industry’s transformation is exciting, and it will offer many benefits to residential and business customers,” Talberg said. “MI Power Grid will ensure Michigan residents and businesses are equipped with tools and information to receive the benefits of clean energy.”
Besides offering customers information, Talberg said the commission also will work with utilities, solar and wind developers, electric vehicle charging companies, battery and alternative energy companies to develop more options for consumers and better manage energy resources.
“Prioritizing clean energy in Michigan will help us grow our economy, create jobs, and protect our overall public health,” Whitmer said in a statement. “And if we’re going to call Michigan a leader in clean, reliable energy, we must update our state’s electrical grid. MI Power Grid will serve as a critical tool in helping us reach that goal and will ensure people and businesses have the resources they need to transition to clean energy. I’m ready and eager to work closely with the MPSC as we take further steps toward a more sustainable future.”
Talberg said the state wants to work with a broad range of stakeholders on the transition to clean energy.
“Customers want more of a say how electricity is produced and how energy costs are managed” through waste reduction and energy-efficiency programs, Talberg said.
MI Power Grid will serve as a repository for regulations and programs to educate the public and companies involved in the clean energy future, she said.
“We see customers being at the center of this transition and we want to make sure we are actively engaging and informing them,” Talberg said.
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