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Charging Forward in Economic Development

In October, the northern Michigan town of Big Rapids saw the biggest economic development win in its history.

By 2031, battery manufacturer Gotion, Inc. is expected to generate 2,350 new jobs in two 550,000-square-foot production plants and other supporting facilities near Big Rapids.

Ferris State University is a major benefactor of Gotion’s announcement. The university will help source talent to fill several plant roles.

In the words of Dr. Bill Pink, president of Ferris State University, “It’s not every day a company like Gotion comes into town to say, ‘We want to invest in your community. We want to invest in your people. We want to invest in what the future is.’”

Once-in-a-generation success stories like these don’t just happen. For companies like Gotion that can put down roots anywhere in the world, the win is the result of a team effort among state and local partners. It’s about working together to make Big Rapids and Michigan an unbeatable value proposition according to a business’s needs.

The Energy to Thrive

Energy is far from the only factor in site selection decisions, but it’s uniquely crucial to battery manufacturers. Gotion needed a partner who could power its plants and facilities – and source 100 percent of that power from renewable sources.

Enter Consumers Energy. Together with electric transmission company ITC, we will extend a high-voltage line to the project line, upgrade existing low-voltage lines, replace poles and build a new substation dedicated to Gotion’s manufacturing plants.

“This project would not be feasible without infrastructure that ensures high reliability, not only for Gotion but for the Big Rapids area,” said Garrick Rochow, president and CEO of Consumers Energy.

Gotion’s renewable energy commitment accelerates our Clean Energy Plan for Michigan. The plan calls for zero coal by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2040, among other measures. We’re proud to help companies in all industry sectors with aggressive renewables goals meet and exceed them.

Building Confidence in Michigan

Our job is to help build confidence in Michigan as the best place to locate, create jobs, grow and thrive. We offer resources in energy and beyond to help new and expanding businesses ensure a solid start, a successful future and a great customer experience.

Attracting businesses to Michigan and keeping them here means keeping upfront and ongoing energy costs competitive. We create economic opportunity given our deep relationships with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and local economic development agencies.

We maintain an Energy Ready site inventory – shared among the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, local community agencies and others – that includes key electric and natural gas infrastructure information.

For businesses that can locate anywhere in the country or world, access to ready-made sites that fit how those businesses use energy boosts the odds of choosing Michigan as their new home.

Having more ready-made sites available boosts our competitive advantage since:

  • Energy-intensive businesses can move right to construction, bringing jobs and investment with them and growing the tax base.
  • We avoid spending time finding and retrofitting new sites – time prospective businesses spend considering other states.

No matter how a business begins the siting process, we’re at the table as a team to understand their long-term goals and provide tools beyond energy to reach them, with focus on growth. We connect all the dots: education and talent, tax incentives, electric rates and natural resources and more.

We work together to understand how all factors fit together for each business, and we recognize what works for one business might not for another. The result is a seamless, from-all-angles, “we’ve got this” customer experience.

Competitive Rates

Our new economic development rate is intended to both attract new business to Michigan and encourage existing businesses to expand operations in our service territory.

Targeted to very large businesses with 35 megawatts or more of new electric load, the economic development rate is especially well suited to attract energy-intensive activities – such as electric vehicle supply chain or semiconductor manufacturing opportunities – to Michigan.

We have a proud history of supporting industrial customers and helping make Michigan an attractive, competitive option for new businesses to invest and grow. The new rate complies with Michigan’s cost-based rate requirements and means existing customers won’t pay more to attract new businesses to Michigan.

Ensuring Reliability

We are modernizing our electric distribution system to continue safely supplying affordable, reliable power for Michigan.

We’re replacing poles and wires and upgrading substations and key equipment to strengthen the network that keeps power flowing to our homes and businesses every day.

Our goal is simple: fewer, shorter and less frequent power outages for our customers. In fact, we plan to reduce the average length of time customers lack power by nearly 15% from 2020 to 2025.

Just as importantly, we’re preparing the power grid to lead the clean energy transformation. That means employing the latest smart technology to:

  • Reduce energy waste.
  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Give customers more control of their bills.
  • And pave the way for more solar power and electric vehicles.

Our five-year Electric Distribution Infrastructure Investment Plan (EDIIP) is a blueprint for serving Michigan today and innovating to meet the challenges of the coming decades.

For more information, contact Valerie Christofferson at 616-648-2777 or valerie.christofferson@cmsenergy.com.

Or visit www.ConsumersEnergy.com/econdev.