Take Five: Michigan’s Infrastructure Needs

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It’s 2016 and Michigan’s energy infrastructure is aging.

Power plants that were built in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s continue to close down across the state and Midwest region, creating the pending energy resource gap that AMP has highlighted over the past year.  These retirements also provide Michigan the opportunity to bring new local and cleaner energy generation online.  For this transition to succeed, our state will need to modernize and strengthen our electric grid with technological updates to help protect reliability and enhance our natural gas infrastructure to help keep energy affordable.

As we make this transition over the next decade, Michigan will need to focus on five key areas of energy infrastructure development and investment.

Michigan’s Top Five Energy Infrastructure Needs

The ways we produce and use energy are changing dramatically. We need to update our state’s electrical infrastructure to ensure affordable, reliable energy for all Michiganders.

Modernizing our state’s electric grid will help increase reliability for all Michigan communities—something that is especially important during Michigan’s storm season.  Additionally, grid investments and upgrades like smart meters will help consumers manage their energy use better and help local providers more effectively track and respond to power issues.

Local energy providers will be investing at least $15 billion over the next few years to help improve the grid, increase energy efficiency, expand new generation, and update existing electric generation facilities.

The entire Midwest is expecting capacity shortfalls in the coming years, and Michigan’s geography limits how much energy we can import from other states.  (Not only that, but it just makes more sense to produce our own energy.)

We cannot count on excess power from other states to get us through times of high demand.  We should invest in the capacity to generate the power we need, especially in times of peak use. And that means we must improve our existing generation facilities as well as build new local generation—the kind that runs 24/7 to provide reliability at all times—is critical to securing our energy future.  

Older, coal-fired power plants are already retiring statewide and across the Midwest.  We need to look forward to what will replace coal as we continue to build a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for all Michiganders.

At 14th in the nation for wind energy potential, Michigan is primed for further wind energy development. Local energy providers currently operate 13 wind farms with more sites in development. More investment and community support will be needed to realize wind power’s full potential as a clean energy resource in Michigan.

Greater investment in large-scale solar will also help us secure a reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy future. Our major local energy providers have a number of large-scale solar installations currently operating and are planning more solar development over the next five to ten years. 

Local energy providers DTE Energy and Consumers Energy co-own the Ludington Pumped Storage Plant, which functions something like an enormous battery. Built in 1973, the award-winning Ludington Plant still plays a key role in hydroelectric energy storage in Michigan.

Local energy providers will be investing $40 million a year in the Ludington plant to:

Hydroelectric resources are among the most reliable of renewable energy sources.  Investment in our hydroelectric infrastructure can help keep energy reliable for all Michiganders while also ensuring a larger percentage of our energy comes from clean, renewable sources.

Michigan’s unique capacity to harness natural gas for electricity will help ensure Michigan has a stable energy supply to power our homes and businesses for decades to come.
Our local energy providers support the NEXUS pipeline, which will:

Investing in Michigan’s energy infrastructure will help power our economy, create good jobs, and support local schools and other community services.  That’s what choosing Michigan is all about.

And that’s why local energy providers are working hard to keep our state’s entire electric system performing efficiently and cost-effectively for Michigan energy consumers.