Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities are taking divergent paths when it comes to building new energy projects as the state escalates actions to contain the coronavirus.

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Michigan’s two major investor-owned utilities remain opposed to a series of bills that supporters say are needed to grow the state’s nascent solar industry.

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The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved plans to expand energy efficiency programs for low-income customers of the state’s two major utilities.

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Consumers Energy has upped the ante on its own long-term clean energy plan, announcing in late February it expects to hit net-zero carbon emissions for its electricity portfolio by 2040 as part of its climate change efforts.

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Ric Evans has yet to find the electric stove he wants to install in his rural Northern Michigan home, but everything else inside is powered by electricity, including the water heater and an air source heat pump.

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The beginnings of a large-scale solar power build-out, bolstering electric vehicle infrastructure and preparing a power grid of the future are among Michigan’s top energy-related trends expected in 2020.

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Michigan ranks among the top Midwestern states for clean energy jobs, but environmental advocates say further policy changes are needed to push the state from “good” to “great.”

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Clean energy advocates praised a Thursday announcement by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer highlighting the need to modernize the state’s power grid as it shifts from coal-fired power. 

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The polar vortex early this year strained Michigan’s energy supply as the state experiences an “unprecedented shift” in the way it produces power and relies more heavily on natural gas and renewables, according to state regulators.

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HOLLAND — A financing program in Holland that helps residents pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades remains one of the only such programs in Michigan, and could be a model for more to come. 

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