Energy consumption and production in Michigan

On August 27, ballot language for the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs proposal was approved. This proposal seeks to discover if registered Michigan voters are in favor of a constitutional amendment that requires utilities to obtain at least 25% of their electricity from clean, renewable energy sources. Given that this proposal is on the ballot, and that renewable and alternative energy resources are gaining more mainstream focus, Drawing Detroit has decided to create the following posts to explore the use of energy resources in the state.

The above figure shows that in 2009 the state of Michigan spent more money on coal-produced energy than on any other type of energy resource. Michigan produces energy resources such as nuclear power and biomass fuels in state while it imports all of its coal.

As stated previously, Michigan’s number one energy expenditure is on coal. This has been the trend for at least  the last 15 years, as shown by the graph above. While expenditures on the various types of energy resources shown in this graph have been increasing since 1984, coal expenditures have increased the most, remaining at least $6.5 million above petroleum, gasoline, and diesel expenditures, among others.

Michigan’s expenditures on energy use related to transportation gradually increased from 1970 to 2000.  After a slight drop in expenditures from 2000 to 2002, there was a dramatic increase in spending  from 2002 to 2008.  During this time period, total spending on transportation energy increased by approximately $10.4 billion.  After a decrease in spending of approximately $5.4 billion from 2008 to 2009, transportation expenditures began to increase again in 2010.

The above graph shows the approximate amount of energy, by type and in btus, that the state of Michigan produced in 2009.  Although Michigan’s energy expenditures are used mainly for coal, the above graph shows that Michigan does not produce any of the coal it used for energy in 2009. The main energy resource Michigan produced was nuclear energy; the state currently has three nuclear reactor plants in operation.

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the drastic decrease in natural gas production from 2007 to 2008 seen on the graph was an anomaly that derived from an internal error from Michigan’s energy data reporting system. While the EIA has confirmed the 2008 number is correct, they are not as confident with data for 2007 and years prior.  While this anomaly accounts for the dip in natural gas energy in 2007, an overall look at the graph shows that crude oil production in Michigan began to decrease in 1986, the same year natural gas production began to increase. Overall the amount of fossil fuel resources produced in the state has been decreasing.

As previously stated, Michigan does not produce coal, but instead imports it. The above chart shows that Michigan relies on 10 states for its coal resources, with the majority of its coal coming from Wyoming and Montana; both these states produce the largest amounts of coal.

The above graph shows that other resources in Michigan are increasingly being used for energy.  Most recently, biofuels, which weren’t tracked until 1981, have begun to be used.  Also, it should be noted there was a decrease in nuclear energy production from 2008 to 2009 because the Donald C. Cook nuclear reactor shut down in September 2008 due to a damaged turbine; it did not return to service until November 2009.

The above graph depicts the amount of energy generated in the state according to how much money is spent on each resource. While coal is imported into the state, it is still the resource most commonly used for energy production, the resource used the most for consumption and the resource in which the most amount of funds are spent on.

This graph demonstrates how much energy Michigan residents consume according to energy resource type. Nuclear energy is the second most-used type of energy resource, but was still about 450 trillion Btus below the amount of coal energy consumed in the state in 2009.

The above graph focuses on the amount of energy used in the state of Michigan for electric purposes. True to the trend seen throughout the post, coal powered energy is the most commonly used resource for electric consumption, with nuclear energy coming in second and natural gas coming in third.  While the graph shows 0% of the state’s electric energy is produced by geothermal, solar, wind, and petroleum sources there were amounts produced by these sources, just not large enough to register to the amounts consumed by a resource like coal.