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U.P. Energy Task Force sends regional energy transition report to Gov. Whitmer

MARQUETTE, MI--   The U.P. Energy Task Force submitted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday 16 recommendations that would improve affordability, enhance reliability and promote energy security for residents of the Upper Peninsula.

Citing exceptional geography that has hindered its infrastructure development and contributed to market dynamics that expose U.P. families and businesses to some of the nation’s highest electricity rates and energy supply vulnerabilities, the Task Force’s Upper Peninsula Energy Task Force Committee Recommendations: Part II – Energy Supply suggests actions the Governor, State Legislature and state agencies can take to alter the status quo of the region’s energy landscape.

“There are distinct challenges to making sure U.P. residents and businesses have access to affordable, reliable and environmentally sound energy as industry dynamics change and the state moves toward reaching a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Liesl Clark, director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Task Force’s chair. “I appreciate the hard work and insight that the Task Force members and others provided to help refine these recommendations which address the region’s unique circumstances.”

Among the recommendations in the report, which was due to the Governor by March 31 and is found online at www.Michigan.gov/UPEnergyTaskForce:

  • Encourage electric providers to participate in an Upper Peninsula-wide electric plan.
  • Modernize the electrical grid to allow wider use of advanced meter technology.
  • Promote energy waste reduction and broadband expansion.
  • Offer residential programs for energy upgrade grants and early purchase of propane.
  • Develop renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicle charging.
  • Examine the rate disparity between customer classes.
  • Create brownfield and state land inventory for energy infrastructure development.

The report also discusses energy use characteristics, how the region gets its energy, natural gas and electric service providers, rates by provider and how they compare to state and national averages, and energy use by sectors.
The report follows the Task Force’s Part 1 report, submitted to the Governor in April 2020, which made recommendations on propane availability in the U.P.

Gov. Whitmer’s Executive Order outlined specific goals for the U.P. Energy Task Force:

  • Assess the U.P.’s overall energy needs and how they are being met.
  • Formulate alternative solutions for meeting the U.P.’s energy needs, with a focus on security, reliability, affordability, and environmental soundness. This includes, but is not limited to, alternative means to supply the energy sources used by U.P. residents, and alternatives to those energy sources.
  • Identify and evaluate potential changes that could occur to energy supply and distribution in the U.P.; the economic, environmental, and other impacts of such changes; and alternatives for meeting the U.P.’s energy needs due to such changes.
Nicole was born near Detroit but has lived in the U.P. most of her life. She graduated from Marquette Senior High School and attended Michigan State and Northern Michigan Universities, graduating from NMU in 1993 with a degree in English.