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Michigan Launches Program to Help Connect Large Clean Energy Projects to Federal Funding


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced during the MI Healthy Climate Conference on Friday that the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) will now be able to more broadly leverage federal dollars to support clean energy projects.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Programs Office (LPO) has designated EGLE and MEDC as State Energy Financing Institutions (SEFI), Whitmer announced Friday. This means the two organizations will be permitted to use federal dollars to supplement state clean energy projects that help meet federal energy goals without some restrictions on the types of projects that would otherwise be ineligible.

“We can ensure federal resources flow for large-scale, clean energy and economic development projects right here in Michigan,” Whitmer told the crowd of environmental stakeholders at the conference in Lansing. “These funds could help make factories cleaner, build electric vehicle chargers, energy storage facilities, wind turbines and solar arrays. And I’m also so excited that we’re going to get this done and I can’t wait for all of you to start using this new program.”

Several other states have taken advantage of the flexibility the SEFI designation offers to combine state and federal dollars for projects that align with both parties’ goals.

The SEFI designation will allow Michigan to unlock funding to accomplish the state’s clean energy goals and create opportunities for new jobs, EGLE Director Phil Roos said in a statement Friday.

“Through enhanced coordination among federal and state departments, we’re not just laying the groundwork for progress; we’re building a bridge to a brighter, greener tomorrow, where opportunities for prosperity and environmental stewardship intersect harmoniously,” Roos said.

Utilizing every possible resource to build into Michigan’s clean energy infrastructure and workforce is key to EGLE’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis, Roos said. 

Whitmer, who has in the past called herself a “climate optimist,” committed to getting Michigan to carbon neutrality by 2050, is now donning a new title: “Climate believer.”

“I believe that we will tackle climate change, a generational, existential challenge with classic Michigan grit and hustle,” Whitmer said. “I believe because of all of you, you’re giving me hope for our future.”

Outlining her efforts over the last three years, from the executive order in 2020 to create the MI Healthy Climate Plan to signing several bills in 2023 implementing the proposals in the plan, Whitmer said Michigan can stand proud that it is becoming a leader in reaching clean energy goals and creating economic opportunities while doing it. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the MI Healthy Climate Conference in Lansing, Michigan on May 17, 2024. (Photo: Anna Liz Nichols)

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