Carbon-Based Energy Sources Continue to Dominate Michigan’s Energy Consumption

In the State of Michigan, petroleum is the most highly consumed form of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2016, 881.4 trillion British Thermal Units (BTU)s of petroleum were consumed in the State of Michigan. This number represents a continued increase of usage since 2012, when it was reported that 787.2 trillion BTUs were consumed. Prior to 2012, use of petroleum remained steady between 2000 and 2005 at about 990 trillion BTUs and then began to drop to the 2012 consumption low point. In the context of this post, petroleum represents the use of motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel and jet fuel. The pattern of decline, then resurgence, is one that follows the economic fortunes of the state with the Great Recession followed by a slow climb out of recession since about 2012.

In the State of Michigan, petroleum is the most highly consumed form of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2016, 881.4 trillion British Thermal Units (BTU)s of petroleum were consumed in the State of Michigan. This number represents a continued increase of usage since 2012, when it was reported that 787.2 trillion BTUs were consumed. Prior to 2012, use of petroleum remained steady between 2000 and 2005 at about 990 trillion BTUs and then began to drop to the 2012 consumption low point. In the context of this post, petroleum represents the use of motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, residual fuel and jet fuel. The pattern of decline, then resurgence is one that follows the economic fortunes of the state with the Great Recession followed by a slow climb out of recession since about 2012.

Next to petroleum, natural gas was the most commonly consumed energy source. In 2016, 675.9 trillion BTUs were consumed in the State of Michigan. This is a decrease from 763.8 trillion BTUS is 2014 and a larger overall decrease of 854.8 trillion BTUs consumed in 2000, this form of energy remains the second most consumed in the State of Michigan. This is not surprising though, as most of the energy produced in Michigan is natural gas. Here though we are discussing consumption.

The consumption of renewable energy sources in Michigan has steadily increased since 2000, with 208.7 trillion BTUs being consumed in 2016. In 2000, 118.4 trillion BTUs of renewable energy was consumed in Michigan.

The type of renewable energy sources consumed in Michigan include solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass and geothermal energy sources. Wood and waste biomass and wind energy are the type of renewable energy sources consumed the most in Michigan.

Of the renewable energy sources consumed in Michigan, biomass has the highest consumption rate at 85.6 trillion BTUs in 2016, according to the EIA. Biomass includes organic matter such as wood or crop waste. Consumption of biomass as an energy source has been increasing since 2000 when the consumption was 68.9 trillion BTUs.

The consumption of geothermal as an energy source steadily increased from 2000 to 2011, (from 1.2 trillion BTUs to 5.1 trillion BTUs) and has since leveled off, with 5.2 trillion BTUs being consumed in 2016.

Solar and hydroelectric are the lowest consumed renewable energy sources in Michigan. According to the EIA, 1 trillion BTUs of solar energy consumed in Michigan in 2016; this is an increase from the 0.2 trillion BTUs consumed in 2000. The consumption of hydroelectric energy has yet to reach 1 trillion BTUs. In 2000 0.3 trillion BTUs was consumed and in 2016 0.2 trillion BTUs was consumed. These numbers fluctuated between those time frames though, with the highest consumption of hydroelectric energy being in 2003 at 0.8 trillion BTUs. Overall renewables represent a very small, though slightly increasing proportion of energy consumed.

In 2008 Michigan enacted a renewable energy standard that required the state retail electricity providers, such as DTE, to generate at least 10 percent of their energy sources from renewable energy; that requirement has since been increased to 12.5 percent to be met by 2019. According to DTE, their current residential electric fuel mix is made up of 9.8 percent renewable energy sources. In a future post we hope to further explore the electric fuel mix percentages; we are currently inquiring about time series data.

Overall, we see that consumption of carbon-based energy sources such as coal and petroleum have been decreasing over time, while the consumption of renewable energy sources has been increasing at a slow rate. The data presented here tend to indicate that carbon dioxide producing fossil fuels are likely to continue to dominate energy consumption for many decades, unless Michigan policy makers act on the dangers of climate change to the state’s future environment, economy and children.