New report: Michigan could provide nearly three-quarters of its future electricity from offshore wind

Data shows that, by 2050, offshore wind could be difference maker in state’s electricity needs
For Immediate Release

LANSING - Michigan could provide nearly three-quarters of its future electricity needs using offshore wind, according to a new report released Thursday by Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. The report, Offshore Wind for America, examines U.S. offshore wind potential by region and by state, while documenting the status of existing projects and technological advances. Michigan could provide 72 percent of its projected 2050 projections with offshore wind alone. For 2050 electricity demand projections, the report assumes that U.S. buildings, industry and transportation will all be powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels by mid-century. 

“As we make the transition to clean, renewable energy, offshore wind stands ready to help Michigan achieve those goals,” said Hannah Read, Go Big on Offshore Wind associate with Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center. “We have immense offshore wind potential right here in Michigan, and by diversifying our energy mix with renewable offshore wind, we can invest in a safer, greener future. Let’s take the next step towards 100 percent renewable energy for Michiganders.”

As a region, the Great Lakes states have the technical potential to produce almost half as much as the amount of electricity they used in 2019 and about one-fifth as much as they are projected to use in 2050. On its own, Michigan could produce almost twice as much power from offshore wind as electricity it used in 2019, and has the highest ratio of offshore wind potential to its electricity use of any state in the region. 

In addition to highlighting states, like Michigan, that stand to provide the most offshore wind power relative to The report also highlights how the success and growth of offshore wind globally in Europe and Asia has supported the continued advancements of offshore wind technologies. Turbine power and efficiency continue to improve, while the introduction of floating turbines will be crucial for expanding offshore wind potential in states with especially deep coastal water, such as Maine and California.

“The sooner we commit to getting energy from offshore wind, the sooner we can realize the benefits of renewable energy,” Read said. “We have a lot of potential off our coast here in Michigan and offshore wind can play a key part in meeting our electricity needs. By working in conjunction with the other states in the Great Lakes region, we can fully take advantage of this resource and ensure its long-term success.”

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Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit www.environmentmichigancenter.org.