Participants shared ideas for advancing Michigan’s clean energy and mobility economy
Developing the skills of Michigan’s clean energy workforce, federal funding, managing small businesses, and advancing equity were top of mind when 20 clean energy business leaders met with state officials representing Governor Gretchen Whitmer; Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE); and EGLE’s Office of Climate and Energy (OCE).
EGLE and OCE organized the September 28 Clean Energy Business Summit at Walker-Miller Energy Services in Detroit to discuss the future of clean energy jobs, innovation, and economic development in Michigan and efforts to build a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. This event is part of the government’s efforts to engage the public and business owners in helping to achieve the goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan (MHCP), which was unveiled by Gov. Whitmer in April, and keeps Michigan at the forefront of energy and travel activities. .
EGLE Director Liesl Clark welcomed participants by noting that the recent passage of the 2022 Inflationary Reduction Act (IRA) opens up new opportunities with $369 billion for climate and clean energy provision nationwide – Congress’ largest investment in climate for now.
“We want to seize this moment,” Clark said.
“Michigan needs to move quickly to meet the bold climate goals in the MHCP, and clean energy businesses are critical to getting us there,” said Cory Connolly, OCE’s climate and energy consultant.
Several roundtable participants emphasized that continuing the growth of clean energy requires developing a skilled workforce and connecting with Michigan’s diverse communities, supporting the employment pathway through mentoring, training, apprenticeships, support services and job training.
“We are in the midst of a transformational opportunity to create a clean energy economy that is committed to inclusiveness for all Michiganders, while urgently addressing climate change,” said Carla Walker-Miller, CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services. “We have the tools, the technology, and the desire to do the most important work of this generation. I commend Gov. Whitmer and the EGLE team.
Michigan is working to accelerate clean energy and environmental justice
On September 7 and 8, Gov. Whitmer signed executive orders to create jobs in Michigan by ensuring that government departments and agencies use tax credits and other resources from the IRA to build manufacturing capacity in Michigan, advance energy and leadership, and empower. workers to succeed; and reducing the cost of doing business and making Michigan more competitive by reducing energy and supply costs and continuing to improve permit processes.
Gov. Whitmer’s bipartisan annual budget has invested tens of millions of dollars in clean energy improvements and improvements to state institutions, families, local governments, houses of worship, and small businesses and has consistently invested in Michigan Saves, the nation’s first green nonprofit. a bank that supports small businesses and working families with energy efficiency support. The governor also announced that 100% renewable energy will power all facilities in the State of Michigan by 2025. He joined the governors of Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin to advance the Lake Michigan EV Circuit Tour, a network of electric vehicle chargers that travel more than 1,100 miles of driven shoreline around Lake Michigan.
Also this year, EGLE announced a $3.5 million grant to help facilitate MiNextCities efforts by NextEnergy, a Detroit-based leader in smart city technology. Dearborn, Flint, and Marquette were selected for the first phase of the three-year MiNextCities pilot project to address climate change, promote resilience, improve infrastructure, and accelerate the use of clean energy, smart city technology, and efficient mobility solutions.
Recent major clean energy investments in Michigan include:
With more than 113,000 jobs across the state — mostly in manufacturing (57%) and construction (21.7%) — Michigan’s clean energy workforce leads the Midwest and ranks fifth nationally. In August, the latest U.S. Labor and Employment Report ranked Michigan No. 1 in the nation for energy sector job growth from 2020-21. And clean energy has recovered faster than the overall national economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MHCP sets the expectation that 40% or more of state and federal funding for climate-related initiatives will benefit disadvantaged communities as part of a focus on environmental justice.
In August, Gov. Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce the Michigan Strategic Fund’s approval of more than $2.8 million for the Training Center to equip 74 training providers across the state. Funding will provide employer-led employee training, skills development, equipment training, and more. More than 100,000 Michiganders are enrolled in the Michigan Connections Program, which launched in 2021 to provide free or reduced-cost community college tuition to students 25 and older who have not yet earned a degree. An additional $55 million in appropriations was recently approved with bipartisan support in the Legislature for fiscal year 2023. More information is available on MEDC’s Michigan Workforce and Talent website.
Join the clean energy and climate conversation
Climate Solutions Council meetings are open to the public, and anyone can submit comments in writing to EGLE-ClimateSolutions@Michigan.gov.