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Governor Whitmer Announces New Clean Energy Program

Michigan Government NewsLansing, MI - On Friday, May 17, 2024, at the MI Healthy Climate Conference in Lansing, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) have been determined to be State Energy Financing Institutions (SEFI) by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO).

The announcement marks the launch of the joint EGLE-MEDC SEFI Program and application for eligible SEFI projects.

This SEFI determination calls for large-scale clean energy technology projects to launch in Michigan and encourages economic development for new and existing organizations in Michigan while accelerating progress toward Michigan’s goal of reaching 100% carbon neutrality by 2050.

This action expands access to critical financing for large-scale clean energy projects in Michigan that would not otherwise be eligible for DOE LPO financing. This new program will reduce costs for new clean energy and industrial decarbonization projects, enable additional cost savings for Michigan consumers and ratepayers, and add to the state’s clean energy job creation tool kit.

"Michigan is committed to lead the future of clean energy and climate action so we can lower utility costs for families, create good-paying jobs, and grow our advanced manufacturing economy,” said Governor Whitmer. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris administration and our hardworking congressional delegation, we have more tools and resources available to communities and businesses to help them pursue clean energy investments that will help us meet the ambitious targets of the MI Healthy Climate Plan and also build a more sustainable and resilient future for all Michiganders. Let’s keep leading and defining the future.”

As SEFIs, EGLE and MEDC can accelerate the deployment of large-scale, commercially viable projects and technologies that will spur economic development, create high-quality jobs across the state, and help Michigan achieve the goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan.

“EGLE is committed to leveraging every available resource, including federal funding, to accelerate action to address the climate crisis, protect our natural resources and public health, and offer new opportunities for Michigan communities,” said EGLE Director Phil Roos. “Today’s announcement allows us to unlock dollars for Michigan communities, businesses, and partners, enabling them to get the resources they need to help us implement the MI Healthy Climate Plan. Through enhanced coordination among federal and state departments, we’re not just laying the groundwork for progress; we’re building a bridge to a brighter, greener tomorrow, where opportunities for prosperity and environmental stewardship intersect harmoniously.”

“We are grateful for the Department of Energy’s vote of confidence in Michigan’s marriage of climate policy and profitable business activity. Michigan is well-positioned to create economic development opportunities that generate good-paying jobs, spur entrepreneurial growth, and cement our state’s leadership in climate action,” said MEDC CEO Quentin L. Messer, Jr. “With the Department of Energy’s resources and our Team Michigan support, these grants will allow Team Michigan to build on the work of the MI Healthy Climate Plan, further execute the ‘Make it in Michigan’ economic development strategy focused on People, Places, and Projects by investing in projects that will drive clean energy solutions and encourage future innovators to transform the world from Michigan.”

About the Loan Programs Office Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program

Under the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program, DOE LPO can finance projects that support clean energy deployment and energy infrastructure reinvestment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Title 17 was created by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and has since been amended, most recently by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022. The legislation expanded the scope of Title 17 to include certain state-supported projects and projects that reinvest in legacy energy infrastructure, and it leverages additional loan authority and funding available for projects involving innovative energy technologies.

There are four project categories within the Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Program:

  • Innovative Energy: Financing for projects that deploy new or significantly improved technology that is technically proven but not yet widely commercialized in the United States.
  • Innovative Supply Chain: Financing for projects that employ a new or significantly improved technology in the manufacturing process for a qualifying clean energy technology or for projects that manufacture a new or significantly improved technology.
  • State Energy Financing Institution (SEFI)-Supported: Financing for projects that support the deployment of qualifying clean energy technology and receive meaningful financial support or credit enhancements from an entity within a state agency or financing authority.
  • Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment (EIR): Financing for projects that retool, repower, repurpose, or replace energy infrastructure that has ceased operations or upgrade operating energy infrastructure to avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions.

Michigan Leads on Clean Energy Investments and Jobs

The MI Healthy Climate Plan and recently signed clean energy legislation position Michigan as a national leader in clean energy and put our state on track to achieve 100% clean energy by 2040 while creating thousands of jobs and lowering costs for families and businesses. In 2022, clean energy jobs grew almost twice as fast as the overall economy, and this growth is expected to continue as federal clean energy and vehicle programs lead to new clean energy projects, domestic manufacturing, and lower upfront costs for homeowners interested in adopting clean energy solutions. According to the World Resource Institute, by the year 2040, the state could create 41,000 new jobs as it advances electric vehicle manufacturing and builds out renewable energy, like solar and wind. 

“Under the leadership of Governor Whitmer and President Joe Biden, Michigan is experiencing a remarkable surge in infrastructure and clean energy investments,” said Zachary Kolodin, Michigan’s chief infrastructure officer and director of the Michigan Infrastructure Office. “Together, we’re mobilizing to bring home federal funding dollars that directly funnel into our communities, revitalizing our infrastructure and propelling our state toward a sustainable future. Today’s announcement stands as a prime example of this proactive approach, empowering communities to successfully apply for and secure funding essential for their growth and resilience.”

Michigan currently leads nationally in leveraging climate and clean energy-related federal funding. A recent report from Climate Power named Michigan the No. 1 state in leveraging clean energy projects and a top state for overall new investment and job creation from the IRA.

The State is accepting applications on a rolling basis starting on Friday, May 17, 2024. Application information can be found by visiting the EGLE-MEDC SEFI Program webpage.

About the Michigan Infrastructure Office

The Michigan Infrastructure Office (MIO) is responsible for organizing and executing Governor Whitmer’s vision for infrastructure, coordinating across state government, marshaling resources, and partnering with local officials, federal partners, and outside stakeholders to ensure resources sent to Michigan through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, are used efficiently and effectively.

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