Madhu joined The Nature Conservancy in 2019 as director of governmental relations where she also leads the Michigan chapter’s energy and climate policy initiatives and manages state and federal government affairs and advocacy. Prior to joining TNC, Madhu held leadership roles in Michigan's state government. In addition to working in the areas of environment and energy regulatory policy, as chief deputy treasurer, her team worked on landmark tax and school finance reforms.
Madhu earned a master of public policy degree from The Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a bachelor of business arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Madhu is also a potter and the treasurer of the Greater Lansing Potters Guild and enjoys trekking in her spare time.
The Goldilocks Solution
Policymakers and conservationists must agree on renewable energy solutions that fit the needs of Michigan and the Great Lakes.
Much like Goldilocks in the classic fairy tale, Michigan policymakers and conservationists should take a deliberate approach to find the “right fit” solutions and achieve the goals of the MI Healthy Climate Plan. Because getting it wrong could have negative impacts on nature that could be felt for generations to come.
We know that harnessing the power of the sun and wind, coupled with energy storage, is a winning combination for achieving a clean energy future. That’s why the MI Healthy Climate Plan sets a goal of 60% of electrical generation in Michigan to be from renewable sources by 2030. Achieving this goal depends far more on successfully locating wind farms and solar installations than the availability of wind and sunshine.
According to a recent analysis from the Citizen’s Research Council of Michigan, to achieve the MI Healthy Climate Plan’s 60% goal, we will need acres and acres of land—intensifying the growing local opposition around solar and wind developments. Where we site wind and solar can make or break our clean energy future. After all, nearly 16% of projects are not constructed due to siting conflicts. Canceled projects and delays only add to our costs.
The Nature Conservancy is all-in on achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. We are confident that, like Goldilocks, we can grow our renewable energy capacity with installations that are the right fit for people and nature. It’s still within our reach to pursue a clean energy future with lower emissions while also maintaining productive working lands and protecting vulnerable natural areas.
The key is for everyone interested in the future of our state and the future of the Great Lakes to plan ahead and work together to optimize our opportunities. At TNC, our nationally respected scientists have studied critical wildlife and plant habitats and designed a tool called Site Renewables Right that helps decision-makers and communities identify natural areas and wildlife corridors to avoid when locating solar and wind installations. As businesses and manufacturers mix more renewables into their energy portfolios, TNC also offers a guide to help them navigate a path to thoughtful and sustainable renewable energy procurement.
TNC encourages reliance on the principles of a healthier climate, stewardship of our natural resources and low-conflict renewable energy installations. We are all in this together, and we have the tools we need. So let’s put them to work, and power a future where Michigan is a leader in renewable energy production.