Consumers Energy, Leading Michigan’s Clean Energy Transformation

by | May 5, 2022 | Stories

Reaching net zero is more than an important corporate goal. It’s key to reducing costly and deadly climate change effects like extreme temperatures, devastating droughts, wildfires and severe storms. 

Utilities can and should lead the clean energy transformation. For example, in the Great Lakes region, climate projections suggest we’ll experience more intense and frequent storms, heavier rainfall and higher temperatures. These changes may require infrastructure improvements, which come as a cost to customers and increase our carbon footprint. The largest threat for our region, and many parts of the U.S., is an increase in high-heat days when air conditioning use can lead to peak loads. 

Some of the steps we’re taking at Consumers Energy to combat climate change include working to eliminate carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, modernizing the electric grid, investing in infrastructure and making historic clean energy commitments. We’re also working with our customers, which is vital to our success.

Our company’s recent Climate Change Risk, Vulnerability and Resiliency Report helped us assess our region’s likely climate change impacts and identify our own vulnerabilities and resiliencies. It’s a critical step for all companies to understand their most likely short- and long-term risks. But to ensure the longevity of companies, our planet and society, we must all strive for net zero to reduce our climate risks – and that requires a unique partnership between companies and their customers.

Our net zero progress and goals

Consumers Energy is a national leader in the clean energy transformation. In 2020, we announced our Clean Energy Plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040 by retiring our remaining coal-fired plants, delivering more renewable and clean energy affordably, and working with our customers to use less energy. In March, we announced our plan to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions from our entire natural gas system by 2050, including customers and suppliers. 

We’ll achieve these goals through carbon offsets, increasing use of renewable natural gas from sources like organic waste, reducing methane emissions, embracing emerging technology to reduce leaks and promoting energy efficiency. 

We’re also leading Michigan’s electric vehicle transformation through committing to power an additional 200 new EV charging stations across the state — including 100 fast chargers — by the end of 2023. 

The expansion comes as electric vehicle sales continue to soar in Michigan. The number of EVs in Michigan was up 58% statewide year over year — and 71% in communities that Consumers Energy serves – as of the end of last year, according to the Michigan Secretary of State.

Partnering with our Customers

According to a Pew Research Center survey, most Americans favor expanding clean energy use, including wind and solar, and working toward net zero by 2050. And about 80% are willing to adopt changes to reduce climate change effects. 

“Our customers are pivotal to our clean energy goals,” said President and CEO of CMS Energy and Consumers Energy Garrick Rochow. “But they have to know what they can do to reduce energy use and make a difference. One of our most important long-term strategies is helping customers understand that their efforts to reduce energy helps the environment and cuts energy costs. It’s a win-win.” 

For Consumers Energy and all utilities, helping our customers understand their role in our net zero strategy is pivotal. Michigan’s peak energy needs are driven almost exclusively by air conditioning for homes and commercial businesses. Our energy efficiency and demand response programs provide customers with tools to help them reduce energy use, save money on their energy bills and provide incentives for participating. We encourage our customers to run appliances and electric vehicle chargers at night when demand and prices are lowest. We also offer at-home energy efficiency assessments and provide, free or reduced cost, energy efficient items like LED lightbulbs and smart thermostats that help customers lower their energy use during peak demand.

Through these efforts, our customers have the power to reduce energy use and save money. Since 2009, we’ve helped customers save about $4 billion and prevented the emission of almost 19 million tons of carbon dioxide. Through 2021, more than 191,000 of our residential customers were enrolled in a demand response or energy efficiency program, and we’re committed to further expand these programs to reach our net zero goals. By 2050, we’ve set a goal to expand partnerships with our customers to reduce their own emissions by 20%.

Our climate leadership goals

We aim to be an industry leader through our net zero goals, and we’re proud to sponsor the Climate Leadership Conference for 2022. The conference helps us collectively work toward protecting our planet and our communities most vulnerable to climate change effects. Reaching net zero is a global effort. Learning from those vested in making a difference helps energize us and further our hope that we can not only meet, but surpass, our climate goals while ensuring a just transition from coal-fired plants for our employees and the communities where we operate.

It’s the right thing to do.

Consumers Energy is Michigan’s largest electric and natural gas utility and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility, serving 6.8 million of the state’s 10 million residents. For more, visit