Michigan Leads Nation in Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity


tMichigan has the most underground natural gas storage capacity in the country, while the state’s wind capacity is among the fastest growing in the nation, according to a new federal report. The latest Michigan’s Energy Profile was released Thursday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

tOverall, roughly half of the electricity generated in Michigan is produced by coal-fired power plants, the majority of which are in the Lower Peninsula. Michigan’s three nuclear power plants, with a total of four reactors, supply more than 25 percent of the state’s electricity. Natural gas fuels much of the remainder, with renewables, including hydroelectric power, routinely contributing less than 5 percent of the electricity generation delivered to the grid.

tIn addition, the state routinely ranks among the top five in residential use of natural gas, and in the top 10 in total consumption. Nearly four-fifths of Michigan households use natural gas as their primary source of heat. With more than one-tenth of U.S. capacity, Michigan has the most underground natural gas storage capacity in the nation, and, after Pennsylvania, the second largest number of natural gas storage fields.

tThe report notes that while the state’s wind resource ranked 18th in the nation, in recent years, Michigan is among the top states in percentage increase in wind capacity.

t“More than 600 megawatts of additional wind generation capacity was installed in 2012 helping the state’s net generation from wind more than double,” the report says. “Michigan has about 20 electric utility-scale wind farms. Overall, however, renewable power generation contributes only minimally to the state’s electricity grid.”
tThe profile, which details the Michigan Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act, provides a portrait of energy production, consumption, and energy prices at the state level. It also provides access to revised state-level analysis on the petroleum, natural gas, coal, and electricity sectors.

tIn related news, Gov. Rick Snyder announced Thursday his vision for a “no regrets” energy future.

t“Michigan needs an energy policy that ensures we can be adaptable, have energy that is reliable and affordable, and protect our environment,” Snyder says. “We should set a reasonable, achievable, and efficient range of goals for 2025.”

tSnyder laid out several key goals for the state’s energy policy:

  • ttAdaptability — Eliminate energy waste and reduce coal and replace it with newer, cleaner technologies like natural gas and renewables. 
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  • ttReliability — Michigan should become a leader in reliability in both reducing the average number of outages and their length. Additionally, the state should never experiences massive outages due to a lack of energy.
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  • ttAffordability — Michigan residential customers should spend less on their combined energy bills (electric and natural gas) than the national average. In addition, Michigan needs to ensure that energy-intensive industries can choose Michigan for jobs and investment.
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  • ttProtection of the Environment — The state’s energy generation needs to be part of a healthier future by reducing mercury emissions, pollution that creates acid rain, and particles in the air. (Snyder also called for an increase in the renewable portfolio based on relative cost, reliability, and environmental benefits.)

tTo read Michigan’s Energy Profile, click here.