Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest plan for spending $2.1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief includes tens of millions of dollars for clean energy initiatives.
Announced on Monday, Whitmer’s plan for spending American Rescue Plan Act dollars includes $40 million to accelerate the buildout of electric vehicle charging stations and an additional $50 million for a weatherization program to make homes more energy efficient.
Michigan advanced energy advocates have also highlighted a proposed $100 million for a new siting program that could encourage clean energy manufacturers and suppliers to locate in Michigan.
“Governor Whitmer’s $2.1 billion economic agenda takes several steps that will position Michigan’s economy for more growth and more jobs in the industries that are driving the transition toward advanced energy,” Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council President Laura Sherman said in a statement. “These are well-paying jobs in booming fields like electric vehicles (EVs), energy storage, wind and solar energy and energy efficiency that utilize Michigan’s historic advantages in manufacturing and industry while also embracing new technologies.”
Whitmer’s latest spending proposal builds on an Economic Jumpstart Plan announced in June that’s aimed at boosting economic activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Whitmer administration said Monday that the latest $2.1 billion in federal funding should fall under three pillars: $722 million to “grow the middle class and educate more workers,” $651 million to support small businesses, and $800 million to build housing.
“As we emerge from the once-in-a-century pandemic, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to use billions in federal resources to grow Michigan’s middle class, support small businesses, and invest in our communities,” Whitmer said in a statement. “With the $2.1 billion in proposals I have laid out, we can raise wages, give people paths to high-skill jobs, grow start-ups, build clean energy infrastructure, and do so much more.”
The federal funding priorities are subject to approval by the state Legislature.
Whitmer’s proposal came nearly a week after Democratic lawmakers, climate advocates and labor officials gathered in Dearborn to support the passage of the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” plan, which includes billions of dollars in clean energy and climate change spending.