Naturally Michigan: The Role of Natural Gas in our Clean Energy Future

When we talk about Michigan’s clean energy future, we often focus on renewable energies like universal wind or solar. However, these are far from the only sources of clean energy that we will need to utilize to lower carbon emissions while ensuring reliability, affordability, and fairness for all Michiganders.

Natural gas is also a big piece of the clean energy puzzle for our state—and for good reason.

Tapping into the Potential of Natural Gas

According to the Energy Information Administration, Michigan has the “largest underground natural gas storage capacity in the nation at nearly 1.1 trillion cubic feet…and the second-largest number of natural gas storage fields.”

This immense natural gas storage potential gives Michigan the ability to purchase and store natural gas prior to winter when demand increases. Ultimately, that helps keep costs lower for consumers while ensuring we have enough resources for Michigan homes and businesses.

Additionally, according to the EIA:

Building Out Michigan’s Natural Gas Capabilities

Local energy provider DTE Energy broke ground on the Blue Water Energy Centera new, state-of-the-art, ultra-efficient natural gas power plant in St. Clair County—in August of last year, and expects the project to be up and running starting in 2022. Construction was temporarily paused in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but work has resumed and no major delays are expected on the $1 billion project.

Once complete, the Blue Water Energy Center will help provide cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable power for 850,000 Michigan homes.

Importantly, the plant “will be 70 percent cleaner and 40 percent more efficient than the three coal-fired plants it replaces.” The construction phase has also created hundreds of Michigan jobs, contributing to our economy during what have been uncertain times to say the least.

Securing a Cleaner Energy Future, the Michigan Way

Incorporating natural gas into our energy mix is vital to our clean energy future. That’s because natural gas not only releases roughly half the carbon dioxide emissions than coal, but also provides a much-needed complement to renewable energies, like universal wind and solar.

Because these renewables are intermittent forms of energy, they must be balanced with energy sources like natural gas in order to provide the kind of 24/7 power it takes to keep electricity reliable, affordable, and safe for our homes and businesses.

On its own, natural gas has helped reduce power-plant carbon emissions to the lowest level in 30 years. And together, clean energy like natural gas and renewables like wind and solar can help Michigan stay on track to meet our state’s carbon reduction and net zero goals in a way that works for Michigan.

Do you use natural gas to heat your home or business? Tell us your experience with this clean energy resource by commenting on our Facebook post!