State of Michigan Renewable Energy Policy Analysis

December 2021
Christian Koch*, Nathan Legault*, Saif Ur Rehman*, Elizabeth Wallace*, University of Michigan

As market forces and policy interventions continue to facilitate a renewable energy transition, U.S. states are increasing their shares of renewable energy technologies. In recent years, Midwest states, such as Michigan – which have historically been intensely reliant on conventional energy sources – have become especially dynamic energy policy landscapes because of recent yet rapid transitions toward renewable energy.1 In the unique case of Michigan, state-level policy has been a major driver for investments in renewable energy across the state. While Michigan has had some successes in implementing notable renewable energy policies and programs, Michigan’s renewable energy landscape is hyper-sensitive to political outcomes in Lansing. Therefore, if Michigan is to achieve its long-term renewable energy goals, it must incorporate more stable and cohesive solutions that will promote renewable energy within the fabrics of Michigan’s broader policy landscape.

While complex in its politics and energy policy landscape, Michigan is expected to see significant growth in renewable energy over the next few decades.2 The rate of this growth, however, is dependent on many factors that exist within Michigan’s borders. This paper discusses the current renewable energy policy landscape across Michigan and explores potential policy solutions at the state and local level that can help advance Michigan's long term energy goals.

In addition to government policy and politics, this paper also considers the role that policy interventions in areas such as taxation, siting authority, infrastructure investment, and the utilization of public lands as platforms to increase renewable energy deployment across Michigan. By considering a range of policy solutions in areas such as these, Michigan can hit its stride in delivering long term stability and demonstrate itself as a unique leader amongst U.S. states transitioning to renewable energy.