Growing Michigan Together Council omits energy transition

If Michigan’s energy transition is the path to prosperity, why doesn’t Whitmer’s advisory board say so?

There is a glaring omission in the first draft of recommendations put forth by the Growing Michigan Together Council: energy.

“Our vision is to be a top-ten growth state by 2050,” the document begins. It depicts Michigan as a future climate haven. But nowhere in its 40 pages, first published by the news service MIRS, is the word “energy.”

It’s an odd choice. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created and appointed members to the board. 

This week, Whitmer signed into law a clean energy package that requires a 100% clean energy standard from Michigan’s large utilities by 2040.

Whitmer signed bills that strip local elected officials of their ability to zone out large wind and solar projects. 

A year and a half before the clean energy plan was the law, it was a plan: the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

Listen for the dog that’s not barking, Michigan.

The state regularly blasts out its progressive bona fides on billboards in other states. Yet a board convened to grow Michigan’s population doesn’t mention the energy transition by name? 

Perhaps “Move to Michigan, where appointees of the governor can fill the countryside with solar arrays, and the attorney general wants to shut down a pipeline” is too many words for a billboard.

In other areas, Whitmer’s plan and the board’s recommendations sync up perfectly.

“Build a lifelong education system” is strategy one of the plan, in a draft Nov. 28. On Dec. 1, the Michigan Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential started work, by order of Whitmer. MiLEAP’s goal is education beyond K-12. 

Michigan’s energy transition is not a plan for prosperity, except cleaner. It’s a new normal where the sources of Michigan’s energy are unreliable, matching distribution systems that are unreliable now.

There are days in Michigan when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow. Using wind and solar to serve as the primary, not supplemental, means of generating electricity means bills will be bigger and service will be worse. Oh, and fallen trees will still knock out power in entire neighborhoods for a week.

Some of the money spent on solar panels and wind turbines could have been used to bury power lines. Instead, it was spent building the energy sources preferred by politicians. The people of Michigan may soon pay for those choices.

If Michigan gets to net zero carbon by 2050, the reward to Mother Earth is a 1/1,000th-of-a-degree drop in global temperature.

Nobody said it was cheap, saving the world. Or, apparently, effective.

When you hear of plans to reduce carbon, understand it to mean fewer jobs and less prosperity. That’s not a story that attracts newcomers.

And that’s why Whitmer’s advisory board remained silent on Michigan’s energy transition.

James David Dickson is managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email him at

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.