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Michigan   Michigan Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: April 19, 2018

Overview

Known as the Great Lakes State, Michigan has within its boundaries portions of four of the five Great Lakes. The state has more shoreline than any other state except Alaska, and vessels that carry coal and other cargo transit the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway by arriving at and departing from several of the state's ports.1,2,3 The northern ends of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron divide the state into two distinct sections—the Upper Peninsula, which is lightly populated and heavily forested, and the Lower Peninsula, where most of Michigan's population lives and all of the major cities, manufacturing industries, commercial agriculture, and crude oil and natural gas production are located.4,5,6

With half of the state forested, Michigan has abundant woody biomass resources.

In addition to Michigan's natural gas and crude oil reserves, the state has many renewable energy resources.7,8 Michigan's largest and longest rivers are in the Lower Peninsula, but of the state's nearly 200 waterfalls, all but one are located in the Upper Peninsula.9,10 With almost 40,000 square miles of the Great Lakes within its borders and thousands of smaller inland lakes and ponds, almost half of Michigan is water.11,12 Winds that sweep across the Great Lakes provide the state with substantial offshore wind energy resources.13 Dams on the state's rivers provide hydroelectric power despite the generally level terrain and relatively small size of many of the rivers.14 With half of the state's land area covered in forests, and its many cities and large towns providing municipal solid waste and landfill gas, Michigan has considerable biomass resources.15,16,17

Michigan is among the top states in the nation in both population and total energy consumption.18,19 Although the Great Lakes moderate Michigan's temperatures, extremes occur in the interior of the Lower Peninsula. Snowfall is highest along the western shorelines of the Lower Peninsula and across the Upper Peninsula.20 Despite its cold winters, Michigan is in the bottom two-fifths of all states in energy use per capita.21 The transportation sector is the leading end-use energy-consuming sector in the state, followed closely by the residential and industrial sectors.22 Michigan's most important mined products include natural gas and petroleum. Other energy-intensive industrial activities in the state are the manufacture of transportation equipment, including automobiles, trucks, and boats, as well as the production of machinery, fabricated metal products, chemicals, and plastics.23

Petroleum

Michigan's crude oil reserves and production are modest. The state's oil production has declined from a peak of 34.7 million barrels per year in 1979 to about 5.4 million barrels in 2017.24,25 Michigan's proved reserves and production each account for less than 0.2% of the nation's total.26,27

Several petroleum pipeline systems cross Michigan.28 Crude oil from western Canada enters Michigan through pipeline systems from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.29 Other crude oil pipelines originating in the U.S. Gulf Coast states enter Michigan through Ohio.30 Port Huron on the Lower Peninsula and Mackinac Island on Lake Huron also receive crude oil imports from Canada.31

Michigan's one oil refinery is located near Detroit. An upgrade at that refinery in 2012 increased the refinery's heavy oil processing capacity by 80,000 barrels per calendar day and allowed the processing of heavy Canadian crude oils. In 2016, the refinery's total crude oil processing capacity was about 132,000 barrels per calendar day. The refinery's output includes motor gasoline, distillates, asphalt, fuel-grade coke, propane, and slurry oil.32,33

Petroleum product pipeline systems that supply Michigan markets enter the Lower Peninsula from the Chicago, Illinois, area to the southwest and also from the Toledo, Ohio, area to the southeast. There are no petroleum product pipelines in the Upper Peninsula.34 Petroleum products are delivered to the Upper Peninsula by truck from terminals in Wisconsin.35 The Lower Peninsula port cities of Detroit and Port Huron receive almost all the state's petroleum product imports from Canada. Some Canadian petroleum products also arrive at Sault Sainte Marie on the Upper Peninsula.36

One in 10 Michigan households rely on propane, kerosene, or fuel oil as their primary heating source.

About two-thirds of the petroleum consumed in Michigan is motor gasoline.37 Federal regulations allow conventional motor gasoline to be sold in most of the state year-round. However, the vapor pressure of motor gasoline sold in eight southeastern Michigan counties during the summer is regulated to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone.38,39 Consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), mostly propane, in Michigan is greater than in many states. Michigan has the largest residential sector propane consumption in the nation and ranks among the top 10 states in the use of LPG overall.40 About 1 in 10 Michigan households heat with propane, kerosene, or fuel oil.41

Natural gas

The Antrim Field in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula is one of the nation's top 100 natural gas fields ranked by proved reserves.42 The state holds about 0.4% of the U.S. proved natural gas reserves and has about 9,600 producing natural gas wells.43,44 However, Michigan's natural gas production is declining, and 2016 output was only one-third of the state's peak production seen in 1997.45 The state's 2016 natural gas production equaled only one-ninth of the state's gas demand.46,47

Michigan has the largest underground natural gas storage capacity in the nation.

Michigan does not have any natural gas market hubs, but several interstate pipelines cross the state, bringing natural gas to Michigan consumers on the way to other markets in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.48 Natural gas enters the state from Indiana, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Michigan also receives natural gas imports by pipeline from Canada, most of it arriving at St. Clair, Port Huron, and Detroit. The bulk of the natural gas flowing out of Michigan goes to Canada, most of it at St. Clair, with much lesser amounts exiting at the Detroit, Sault Sainte Marie, Marysville, and Port Huron border crossings.49,50,51

More than three-fourths of Michigan households use natural gas as their primary source for home heating.52 Michigan routinely ranks among the top 5 states in residential use of natural gas and in the top 10 for total gas consumption.53,54 Michigan has the largest underground natural gas storage capacity in the nation, holding more than one-tenth of the U.S. total, and the state has the second-largest number of natural gas storage fields after Pennsylvania.55,56 During high demand periods in the winter months, natural gas is withdrawn from the state's storage.57,58

Coal

Coal-fired power plants provide the largest share of electricity generated in Michigan.

Michigan has a small amount of economically recoverable coal reserves,59 but there are no active coal mines in the state.60 However, Michigan does have an active coal business, as the state's ports handle almost one-third of all Great Lakes coal shipments.61 The state relies heavily on coal for electricity generation, and coal is also used at Michigan's coke plants and by other industrial and commercial consumers.62 Most of the coal consumed in Michigan comes by rail from the West, primarily from Wyoming and Montana. Coal also comes from nearby states, including some from the coal fields of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Indiana.63

Electricity

Coal fuels the largest share of Michigan's electricity generation, and 3 of the 10 largest power plants in the state are coal-fired.64 However, in 2017, coal fueled less than two-fifths of the state's net generation, down from about half just three years earlier. Natural gas-fired power plants' share of Michigan's electricity generation nearly doubled in the same period. In 2017, natural gas provided nearly one-fourth of the state's electricity generation. Michigan's three nuclear power plants typically supply nearly three-tenths of the state's net generation. Wind energy contributes a small but increasing share of the electricity delivered to the Michigan grid.65

Because of Michigan's unique geography, the state is serviced by two major interstate electricity grids. One grid covers the Lower Peninsula and a small portion of the Upper Peninsula, and the other grid covers much of the Upper Peninsula.66 Most of the state's power plants are located in the more densely populated Lower Peninsula.67 The amount of electricity generated in Michigan is greater than in more than three-fourths of the states, but residential electricity sales per person in Michigan are well below the national average,68,69 in part because less than one-tenth of Michigan households rely on electricity as their primary source of energy for home heating. 70 As a result, Michigan sells its surplus electricity out of state.71

Renewable energy

Michigan is among the top 15 states in the nation in electricity generation from wind.

Michigan's renewable energy resources are spread across the state. Wind farms are primarily located along the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Biomass electricity generating plants at municipal landfills are mostly found in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula, while those using wood and wood waste are more common in northern Michigan. The state's largest hydroelectric facility by capacity is a pumped-storage plant on the Lower Peninsula, but most of Michigan's hydroelectric facilities are located at dams on both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas.72 About 89 of the approximately 2,600 dams in Michigan generate hydroelectric power.73,74

Overall, renewable resources contribute about 8% of Michigan's net electricity generation.75 Most of the state's renewable electricity generation comes from wind, which surpassed biomass as Michigan's largest renewable energy resource for electricity generation in 2013.76 Estimates of Michigan's potential generating capacity from wind have increased with improved technologies.77 Michigan is among the top 15 states in the nation in terms of installed wind capacity and wind generation.78,79 The state has almost 30 utility-scale wind farms with a total generating capacity of about 1,900 megawatts.80 Substantial renewable electricity generation also comes from biomass, including wood, wood waste, and municipal solid waste, and several facilities generate electricity using methane recovered from landfills.81,82 Some Michigan dairy farms have anaerobic digesters that convert animal waste into biogas and electricity.83

Michigan has five ethanol and three biodiesel production plants in operation. Corn is used as a feedstock for all of Michigan's ethanol plants, and those plants have a combined capacity of more than 270 million gallons of ethanol each year.84,85 The state is the 12th largest ethanol producer in the nation.86 Michigan's biodiesel refineries can use a variety of oils, fats, and greases as feedstocks to produce more than 10 million gallons of biodiesel per year. 87

Michigan enacted a renewable energy standard (RES) in 2008 that required the state's retail electricity providers, including investor-owned electric utilities, alternative retail suppliers, electric cooperatives, and municipal electric utilities, to generate at least 10% of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015. The RES was met and in December 2016, the state's RES requirement was increased to 12.5% of electricity sales during 2019 and 2020 and 15% of sales in 2021. Acceptable renewable energy resources for generating electricity include solar, biomass, wind, geothermal, municipal solid waste, hydroelectric, wave, and river currents. The updated RES includes goals for electric utilities to cut energy waste by reducing electricity sales by 1% annually and for natural gas utilities to reduce gas sales to their customers by 0.75% a year. 88,89,90

Endnotes

1 NETSTATE, Michigan, The State of Michigan, updated July 28, 2017.
2 State of Michigan, Does Michigan have the longest coast line in the United States?, accessed March 14, 2018.
3 World Port Source, Ports, Michigan, accessed March 14, 2018.
4 NETSTATE, Michigan, The State of Michigan, updated July 28, 2017.
5 Kandell, Jonathan, "The Wonderful Wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula," Smithsonian (May 2011).
6 Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Education Foundation, Geologic formations of Michigan, accessed March 14, 2018.
7 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Michigan Profile Data, Reserves and Supply, accessed March 13, 2018.
8 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Resource Maps, accessed March 21, 2018.
9 Michigan State University, Michigan Geography, Lakes, Rivers and Wetlands, accessed March 14, 2018.
10 Go Waterfalls, Great Lakes Waterfalls and Beyond, Michigan Waterfalls, updated March 25, 2008.
11 NETSTATE, Michigan, The State of Michigan, updated July 28, 2017.
12 NETSTATE, Michigan, The Geography of Michigan, updated February 25, 2016.
13 National Renewable Energy Laboratory, United States-Land-Based and Offshore Annual Average Wind Speed at 80 m (January 9, 2012).
14 Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Natural Rivers, accessed March 21, 2018.
15 Michigan Forest Association, Resources, accessed March 13, 2018.
16 U.S. EIA, Michigan Profile Overview, Biomass Power Plant Map Layer, accessed March 14, 2018.
17 U.S. Census Bureau, Quick Facts, Michigan, accessed March 14, 2018.
18 U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates, Table 1, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016.
19 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2015, (June 2017), Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
20 City-Data, Michigan Climate, accessed March 14, 2018.
21 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2015, (June 2017), Table C13, Energy Consumption per Capita by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
22 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2015, (June 2017), Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
23 NETSTATE, Michigan, Michigan Economy, updated December 19, 2017.
24 Western Michigan University, Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education, Michigan Oil and Gas, accessed March 14, 2018.
25 U.S. EIA, Michigan Field Production of Crude Oil, Annual, 1981-2017.
26 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual, 2017.
27 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserves Changes, and Production, Proved Reserves as of 12/31, 2011-16.
28 Pipeline 101, Where are Liquid Pipelines Located? Region 2, accessed March 14, 2018.
29 Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Infrastructure and Transportation, Pipelines, Crude Oil Pipeline and Refinery Map, accessed March 21, 2018.
30 Sunoco Logistics, Crude Oil Segment Map, accessed March 14, 2018.
31 U.S. EIA, Petroleum and Other Liquids, Company Level Imports, January-December 2017.
32 Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Michigan Refining Division, accessed March 14, 2018.
33 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Michigan, accessed March 14, 2018.
34 Michigan Public Service Commission, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Petroleum Product Pipelines (May 2014).
35 Snyder, Richard D., Governor, State of Michigan, Executive Order No. 2012-12, State of Energy Emergency, Waiver of Regulations Relating to Motor Carriers and Drivers Transporting Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, and Jet Fuel (July 24, 2012).
36 U.S. EIA, Petroleum and Other Liquids, Company Level Imports, January-December 2017.
37 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2015, (June 2017), Table C2, Energy Consumption Estimates for Major Energy Sources in Physical Units, 2015.
38 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gasoline Standards, Reformulated Gasoline, accessed March 14, 2018.
39 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gasoline Standards, Gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure, accessed March 14, 2018.
40 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Table F12, Liquefied Petroleum Gases Consumption Estimates, 2015.
41 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Michigan, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
42 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), Table 2, Top 100 U.S. gas fields as of December 31, 2013, p. 8-10.
43 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Reserves Summary as of December 31, Dry Natural Gas, accessed March 15, 2018. extra comma
44 U.S. EIA, Number of Producing Gas Wells, 2016, accessed March 15, 2018.
45 U.S. EIA, Michigan Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals, 1967-2016, accessed March 15, 2018.
46 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Marketed Production, accessed March 15, 2018.
47 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Total Consumption, accessed March 15, 2018.
48 U.S. EIA, Michigan Profile Overview, Natural Gas Inter/Intrastate Pipeline Map Layer, accessed March 15, 2018.
49 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Michigan, accessed March 15, 2018.
50 U.S. EIA, U.S. Natural Gas Imports by Point of Entry, Pipeline Volumes, accessed March 15, 2018.
51 U.S. EIA, U.S. Natural Gas Exports and Re-Exports by Point of Exit, Pipeline Volumes, accessed March 15, 2018.
52 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Michigan, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
53 U.S. EIA, Share of Total U.S. Natural Gas Delivered to Consumers, Residential, Annual, 2016.
54 U.S. EIA, State Energy Consumption Estimates 1960 through 2015, (June 2017), Table C11, Energy Consumption by Source, Ranked by State, 2015.
55 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Storage Capacity, 2016.
56 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Storage Number of Existing Fields, 2016.
57 U.S. EIA, Michigan Natural Gas Underground Storage Withdrawals, Monthly, 1990-2017.
58 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Delivered to Consumers in Michigan (Including Vehicle Fuel), Monthly, 1990-2017.
59 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016, (November 15, 2017), Table 15. Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method.
60 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016, (November 15, 2017), Table 1. Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Mine Type.
61 Port of Detroit, Facts and Statistics, About the Port of Detroit, accessed March 19, 2018.
62 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016, (November 15, 2017), Table 26. U.S. Coal Consumption by End Use Sector, Census Division, and State.
63 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2016, (November 21, 2017), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by: destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Michigan, Table DS-21, Domestic Coal Distribution by Destination State.
64 U.S. EIA, Michigan Electricity Profile 2016, Table 2A, Ten largest plants by capacity, 2016; Table 2B, Ten largest plants by generation, 2016.
65 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B, 1.4.B, 1.7.B, 1.9.B, 1.14.B.
66 North American Electric Reliability Corporation, Regions, accessed March 19, 2018.
67 U.S. EIA, Michigan Profile Overview, All Power Plants Map Layer, accessed April 5, 2017.
68 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Tables 1.3.B.
69 U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan, Population estimates, July 1, 2017.
70 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Michigan, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate.
71 U.S. EIA, Michigan Electricity Profile 2016, Table 10, Supply and disposition of electricity, 1990 through 2016.
72 U.S. EIA, Michigan Profile Overview, All Power Plants Map Layer, accessed March 20, 2018.
73 National Hydropower Association, Michigan, Existing Hydropower, accessed March 20, 2018.
74 Associated Press, "Michigan's Thousands of Crumbling Dams Pose Dangers," U.S. News & World Report (February 15, 2017).
75 U.S. EIA. Electricity Data Browser, Net Generation for All Sectors, Michigan, Annual, 2001-2017.
76 U.S. EIA. Electricity Data Browser, Net Generation for All Sectors, Michigan, Annual, 2001-2017.
77 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Wind Energy in Michigan, accessed March 21, 2018.
78 American Wind Energy Association, Michigan Wind Energy, accessed March 21, 2018.
79 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2018), Table 1.14.B.
80 American Wind Energy Association, Michigan Wind Energy, accessed March 21, 2018.
81 U.S. EIA, Michigan Profile Overview, Biomass Power Plant Map Layer, accessed March 21, 2018.
82 U.S. EIA. Electricity Data Browser, Net Generation for All Sectors, Michigan, Annual, 2001-2017.
83 Scenic View Dairy, Energy, accessed March 21, 2018.
84 Ethanol Producer Magazine, U.S. Ethanol Plants, All Platforms, Operational, updated January 24, 2018.
85 Biodiesel Magazine, U.S. Biodiesel Plants, Operational, updated December 13, 2017.
86 Nebraska Energy Office, Ethanol Facilities Nameplate Capacity and Operating Production, Ranked by State, updated January 11, 2018.
87 Biodiesel Magazine, U.S. Biodiesel Plants, Operational, updated December 13, 2017.
88 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DISIRE, Michigan Renewable Energy Standard (updated May 16, 2017).
89 Michigan Public Service Commission, Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, "MPSC: All Michigan electric providers met or exceeded renewable energy standard in 2015, state poised to increase renewables to 15 percent by 2021," Press Release (February 15, 2017).
90 Michigan Public Service Commission, Energy Waste Reduction, accessed March 21, 2018.