News Story

Whitmer’s Renewables Order Would Cover Whole Regions In Turbines And Solar Arrays

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared in a September 2020 executive order that Michigan must be CO2-neutral by 2050. In an Earth Day press conference this year, she expanded on that by committing to make all state-owned buildings run on 100% renewable energy by 2025.

This likely pleased groups like Environment America, which demands that Michigan move to 100% renewable energy. It is part of an organization called The Public Interest Network, which takes what it calls “a strategic approach to social change.”

To become carbon dioxide neutral and use 100% renewable energy — but no nuclear power — Michigan would need to rely on intermittent solar and wind power.

Supplying 100% of Michigan’s power grid with renewable energy would change the landscape of the Great Lakes State, according to Jason Hayes of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Replacing fossil fuels and nuclear energy with wind turbines would require enough turbines to cover the equivalent of the entire Thumb area of the state, or roughly 3,470 square miles. That would engulf almost all of Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac counties.

Using solar panels to achieve the same result would require covering an area equal to size of Detroit and most of its suburbs, or about 920 square miles.

Energy from the wind and solar facilities envisioned above would be intermittent, however, and only provide sufficient power if all their collectors were producing at full capacity.


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.