“Making It In Michigan” In Energy And Beyond

Nation’s automotive epicenter deploys team approach to winning EV, semiconductor, and other projects.

Sponsored by Consumers Energy
From the July/August 2023 Issue

Globally, automakers have bet big on an all-electric future, and those bets are paying off. Market and consumer data provider Statista reports that the U.S. electric vehicle (EV) market was estimated at just under 918,500 light EV sales in 2022—over two and a half times more than in 2018. And in June, Business Facilities again named Michigan No. 1 in the automotive industry—namely the traditional and EV space.

In short, more companies are choosing Michigan—the state that put the world on wheels—as the best place to power an electrified future. For proof, look no further than Ford, which chose a mega site in the city of Marshall as the home for its $3.5 billion BlueOval Battery Park Michigan plant that will employ up to 2,500 people. EV component manufacturer Gotion also will open a $2.4 billion battery plant, bringing more than 2,300 good-paying, high-tech jobs to Big Rapids.

Michigan EV, Consumers Energy
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks during the official announcement of Ford BlueOval Battery Park Michigan in Marshall. (Photo: Courtesy of Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)


As it did with Ford and Gotion, the state is deploying a “Team Michigan” approach. The strategy puts Michigan’s strongest assets forward in energy and beyond to ensure major EV, semiconductor, and other large companies overwhelmingly choose Michigan.

The Energy To Thrive

Consumers Energy—Michigan’s largest energy provider and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility—is powering the state’s EV transformation.

The number of EVs in Consumers Energy’s territory has more than tripled in just three years to over 25,000 vehicles at the end of 2022. The utility has provided over 3,000 incentives for EV chargers at homes, businesses, and public locations, and is also helping businesses that want to electrify their vehicle fleets.

“By every measurement, Michigan continues to see interest in electric vehicles accelerate,” said Sarah Nielsen, Consumers Energy’s Executive Director for electric vehicle programs. “Consumers Energy is proud to power that transformation, working with drivers, business owners, and community leaders to make EV ownership convenient, affordable, and clean.”

“By every measurement, Michigan continues to see interest in electric vehicles accelerate. Consumers Energy is proud to power that transformation, working with drivers, business owners, and community leaders to make EV ownership convenient, affordable, and clean.”

— Sarah Nielsen, Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy also is committed to powering one million EVs by 2030. The goal puts Michigan in the driver’s seat for the next generation of clean, zero-emissions vehicles and supports the auto industry’s goal for EVs to make up 50% of sales by 2030.

Keeping energy costs competitive is key to long-term success, Consumers Energy’s economic development rate is targeted to large businesses with 35 megawatts or more of new electric load and is especially well-suited to attract energy-intensive activities—such as EV, EV supply chain, and semiconductor manufacturing—to Michigan.

Consumers Energy knows reliability is crucial for every customer. That’s why the company continues to invest in the grid to increase safety, prevent outages, and better serve customers, including $15 million for automatic transfer reclosers (ATRs). Known as the traffic lights of the electric grid, ATRs prevent outages by isolating electric line problems and transferring power automatically. Beyond ATRs, the energy provider’s overall $5.4 billion electric reliability plan is a blueprint for serving Michigan today while investing and innovating to meet the challenges of tomorrow. In addition to ATRs, investments are being made to trim trees, replace aging equipment, and upgrade key equipment such as substations.

Despite more frequent and severe weather events nationwide caused by climate change, the Great Lakes State’s temperate climate and focus on reliability are major assets for new and expanding businesses.

A Growing Energy-Ready Site Inventory

Currently, Consumers Energy serves a growing roster of attractive and available mega sites. The energy provider also offers other strategic sites statewide that may also be suitable for new and expanding businesses requiring less than 1,000 acres of land.

Consumers Energy also is working alongside the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and local economic development organizations to identify, examine, and inventory sites of all sizes. The goal is to help ensure sites are readily available to meet increased electric demand—and the company has studied providing up to 1,000 megawatts at Michigan’s mega sites.

“We’re proud to work with the MEDC, local partners, and others to expand Michigan’s energy-ready site inventory and boost readiness to meet accelerated project timelines,” said Valerie Christofferson, Consumers Energy’s Director of Economic Development. “We want large businesses in every industry, including EV battery, battery-component, and semiconductor facilities and their supply chains, to bring jobs, investment, and prosperity to Michigan.”

A Nation-Leading EV, Mobility & Semiconductor Career And Talent Approach

With a manufacturing mindset in its DNA, Michigan is cultivating the EV workforce of today and tomorrow.

Michigan has more than 3,000 jobs available in the EV and mobility sectors to ensure long-term success. The EV transformation spurs an opportunity to create up to 300,000 good-paying jobs in Michigan by 2030.

That’s why, in March, MEDC and its new Talent Action Team piloted an unprecedented recruitment effort in a public-private partnership with 15 major Michigan employers, public universities, and community colleges. The goal: To fill jobs in Michigan’s surging EV and transportation mobility sector.

Michigan EV, Consumers Energy
From energy supply and Energy Ready sites to cultivating the tech-enabled workforce of the future, Consumers Energy, the MEDC, and local partners deploy a Team Michigan approach to encouraging more EV, semiconductor, and other large companies to choose the Great Lakes State. (Photo: Consumers Energy)


The Talent Action Team’s plan is to spur Michigan’s EV and mobility talent attraction push with the Michigander EV Scholar’s Program, with up to $10,000 scholarships going to as many as 350 top tech students at the pilot program’s three participating universities—University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Michigan Technological University—if they sign a letter of employment with one of the approved companies and commit to staying on the job for 12 months. These new hires would help fill the participating Michigan employers’ annual demand for 500 to 600 electrical engineers and software developers.

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“Our goal is to support the industry transition by recruiting and/or training thousands of workers this year by delivering professional development programs where people improve their skills and competencies that align with these in-demand EV roles,” said Kerry Ebersole Singh, MEDC’s Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Solutions and Engagement Officer.

Consumers Energy partners with the MEDC and local and regional organizations to help new and expanding businesses choose Michigan as the best place to grow and thrive.

No matter how a business begins the siting process, Consumers Energy is at the table with MEDC and local economic development agencies as a team—Team Michigan—to understand a company’s long-term goals. Consumers Energy connects all the dots, resulting in a seamless “we’ve got this” customer experience. That’s a major reason industry leaders invested more than $4.2 billion and created more than 5,500 jobs in Consumers Energy’s service territory in 2022.

Visit ConsumersEnergy.com/econdev for more information.


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