Michigan has 1,531 MW of wind installed, with 60 MW under construction. If offshore policy and technology advances, Michigan has good potential for offshore wind development. An important development in 2015 has been the completion of a new high voltage transmission line to serve the wind turbines in Michigan’s thumb region. This line was built by ITC Transmission and will enable growth in the renewable energy market.
However, wind developers face obstacles in Michigan. One barrier is the uncertainty of dealing with unreceptive local governments, because most zoning is done at the township level. A second barrier is that the state’s RPS has been challenged, which has led to uncertainty in the market.
A recent statewide change is the new agency created by Governor Snyder via Executive Order – Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE). This agency will be housed under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and will absorb the current Michigan Energy Office. A key task of the MAE will be to focus on coordinating efforts to replace the state’s coal power plants with cleaner energy sources.