Natural Gas: A Growing Piece of Michigan’s Energy Puzzle

Whether its wind, solar, hydro power, nuclear, natural gas, or any other source of energy, what matters most is keeping energy in Michigan affordable, reliable, and sustainable. States like Michigan that use a variety of energy sources are best positioned to meet these goals.

One key piece of Michigan’s energy future—possibly the biggest piece—is natural gas. Investing in Michigan’s energy future means investing in the infrastructure that will support natural gas as a major fuel source for decades to come.

The Future of Natural Gas

Natural gas has become an increasingly cost-effective energy resource since the 1990s, thanks to its affordability and clean-burning capabilities. Developments like the NEXUS pipeline are allowing Michigan to harness the benefits of natural gas and update our energy mix to remain stable, efficient, and affordable as our older power plants close and we transition to cleaner, more efficient energy generation.

Michigan energy providers are developing renewables like wind and solar at an accelerated pace and are currently the largest investors in renewable energy for our state. But renewable energy alone cannot keep electricity reliable and affordable 24 hours a day, seven days a week – so natural gas likely will become Michigan’s primary source of energy in the coming decades.

Luckily, Michigan is well positioned to leverage natural gas for electricity almost immediately. Much of the necessary natural gas infrastructure already is in place. Investing in updates and maintenance to existing transmission lines will allow our state to capitalize on this safer, cleaner source of energy.

Natural Gas in the Great Lakes Region

We know Michigan’s landscape is conducive to many types of energy, and most of the time people point to wind. However, our state’s geography also is ideal for supporting, storing and producing natural gas. “Michigan has the most underground natural gas storage capacity in the nation, and has the second-largest number of natural gas storage fields after Pennsylvania.” Michigan’s geography is also ripe for natural gas development; the Antrim Gas Field in the northern region of the Lower Peninsula has produced more than 90 billion cubic feet of natural gas.

Heating your Home vs. Powering your Home

More than 75 percent of Michigan households use natural gas as their primary source for home heating, but using natural gas to heat your home is different than converting natural gas to electricity.
Combustion turbine technology burns natural gas, creating pressure that causes turbines to rotate, generating electricity the grid then can transmit to homes and businesses statewide.

A Resource for the Future

Michigan already is capitalizing on the benefits of natural gas, but a continued focus on investing in our state’s energy future will allow us to better prepare for the changing energy landscape. Natural gas is a cleaner, safer, and more efficient resource that has and will continue to benefit our state in the coming years. An investment in natural gas is an investment in Michigan’s energy future.