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Reinventing Michigan's Electric Grid

Energy companies across Michigan are working to improve our electric grid to keep energy reliable, affordable, and sustainable for the long term, and to support a strong economy, job growth, and vibrant communities across our state.

Our grid is a critical but often overlooked aspect of Michigan’s infrastructure. More than just wires delivering energy to your home or business, our electric infrastructure also includes generating plants that produce power, transmission lines that carry this power to demand centers, substation transformers that convert this high-voltage electricity to low voltage for distribution, and distribution lines that bring this low voltage power to consumers.

All of these pieces of Michigan’s current electric infrastructure need maintenance and improvement. However, the way we consume energy today and the quality of energy we consume has changed how we need to approach updating our state’s energy infrastructure. Technologies we have relied on in the past cannot fully support the way we need to produce and deliver energy now and in the future.

Michigan needs to invest in a next-generation electric grid to make our grid harder, stronger, more efficient, and more secure.

WHAT DOES THE NEXT-GENERATION ELECTRIC GRID LOOK LIKE?

The next-generation electric grid will be more than a simple upgrade of what we already have. Investing in hardening and strengthening our grid — the backbone of our electric system — will be critical to integrating renewable energy in a cost-effective way, giving consumers greater transparency into and control over their energy costs, increasing our energy efficiency, making our grid more resilient against outages, and ensuring safe and reliable energy for all Michiganders.

Grid improvements can be made at every step of the process: energy production, transmission, communication, and consumption.

  • Producing Energy
    Michigan is already transforming the way we produce energy, shifting from predominantly coal-fired generation to a cleaner and more complex mix of energy sources. Michigan energy providers must balance those multiple sources of power, like natural gas, large-scale solar, and wind, in real time to keep energy flowing reliably and efficiently. Investing in technology that provides effective and affordable energy storage will allow us to make the most of electricity generated from solar power (and other renewables).

  • Transmitting Energy
    The journey energy takes from production to consumption is arduous, and it must pass through several stages of “stepping down” voltage to reach just the right level to enter a home or business safely. Energy companies across Michigan are investing in upgrading our transmission infrastructure to make sure electricity can travel safely and reliably from production to consumption. New equipment, including customer-serving circuits and utility poles, will ensure the next generation of Michigan’s grid will support consumers’ needs for the long term. Innovative design and engineering will make our grid hardier, and better able to withstand the effects of severe weather and storm damage. A stronger transmission system will help decrease power outages and keep energy flowing reliably from plant to home.

  • Consuming Energy
    Many Michiganders have already seen firsthand how technology can transform the way we consume energy. Technology like Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), also known as smart meters, allows communication between homes and businesses and local energy providers in real time. This two-way communication improves efforts to balance supply and demand, speeds response to strains on the grid or storm damage, and offers consumers increased ability to manage their personal energy use and costs.

SMART GRID, INTELLIGENT CHOICES

We must invest in our electrical infrastructure in Michigan; what we have now is aging and does not fully support how we consume energy now compared to how we consumed it 20 or 30 years ago. The only question is whether we will choose to invest for the long term. Along with renewable and clean energy development and restoring our state’s diminishing electric generation capacity, a next-generation electric grid is key to ensuring Michigan creates a secure energy future. The investments we make today will pay returns for decades to come, opening up possibilities we couldn’t imagine a generation ago. Michigan’s 21st century electric grid will offer more capacity, reliability, and flexibility for energy providers and consumers alike.

To learn more about the smart grid and what it can do for you, visit the AMP site.