U.S. map with solar workers

When companies decide where to open a new plant or office complex, they consider lots of factors, like tax incentives, regulations, the cost of living, and the available workforce. And now, some companies are weighing an additional factor: whether a location can help them go green.

Wheeler: “Close to half of the Fortune 500 companies have clean energy goals that they’ve put on the record already, and that’s been growing very quickly. So this is part of the language that everybody is speaking now.”

That’s Brian Wheeler, spokesperson for Consumers Energy, a Michigan utility. He says that when a company called Switch was looking to open a new data center in Michigan, one of the company’s priorities was to be powered entirely by clean energy.

Wheeler: “We said yes. We will honor that commitment and do that. In the case of Switch, we have an existing wind park in the state that we are expanding to meet their needs.”

In the hopes of attracting more companies like Switch, Consumers Energy is seeking state approval for a new program. It would enable the utility to meet the renewable energy needs of any large company looking to set up shop in the state.

Wheeler: “If Michigan wants to compete for new businesses and large businesses that are going to put a lot of people to work, it’s important that we have the tools to offer them.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.


Bridgett Ennis

Bridgett Ennis is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media, an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. ChavoBart Digital Media contributes original reporting, audio...