Governor Rick Snyder says one of his long-term ambitions is to improve Michigan’s access to electricity by extending the power grid to connect the upper and lower peninsulas.
The Upper Peninsula has just one major power plant, which is operating under a special deal struck with the state. The rest of the UP’s electricity has to come through Wisconsin.
Governor Snyder says that isolation poses a risk.
"One of the things that we’re proud of that we’d never ever want to change in the world is our Great Lakes, but the other flip side of having these wonderful Great Lakes is we’re two peninsulas."
Michigan's two peninsulas result in unique benefits and challenges for the state:
“There actually are some challenges to the fact that you’re two peninsulas and you’re not in the normal circuit. We love it for tourism. It can be more challenging for energy and transportation.”
These energy challenges leave both peninsulas more vulnerable to disruptions in the power chain such as outages and brownouts. Unfortunately, laying heavy-duty power lines beneath the Great Lakes would be complex and very expensive.