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Legislature’s energy plan applauded as significant ‘first step’ toward clean energy jobs and economic growth

Bipartisan legislation lays groundwork for building a cleaner, more energy-independent Michigan
Sep 18, 2008
Lansing – Legislation passed by the Michigan House and Senate today is a significant first step toward creating a new era of clean energy jobs, said the Michigan Environmental Council.

“This package is a good initial move toward making Michigan competitive in energy savings programs and clean, homegrown power,” said Lana Pollack, President of the Michigan Environmental Council. “Michigan ratepayers currently send $24 billion annually out of state to buy fuel from other nations and states. This legislation will keep some of that money here paying Michigan contractors, engineers and installers and financing the construction and operation of wind turbines, solar power systems and alternative energy ventures.”

The legislation makes Michigan the 28th state to enact renewable energy standards, allowing Michigan to compete with neighboring states for jobs in the burgeoning clean energy field.

It also spurs the development of low-carbon energy ventures in Michigan which will reduce the state’s contribution to global warming emissions, lessen pollution that impairs public health, and reduce our reliance on expensive imported coal.

“Until today, Michigan was at a distinct disadvantage in competing for this new era of jobs,” said James Clift, Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental Council. “This will help provide the impetus to transform Michigan’s economy from the past to the future. Every megawatt-hour generated by wind power or saved by investing in more energy efficient equipment means real jobs for Michigan engineers, laborers, installers and contractors.”

The plan is a beginning, not an end, said David Gard, Energy Program Director of the Michigan Environmental Council.

“We believe the challenge of climate change and rising fuel costs will be a catalyst to raise these standards in the future,” said Gard. “This puts Michigan in the middle of the pack among states pursuing clean energy, but we are now in the game and moving toward propelling Michigan’s energy economy away from its expensive reliance on dirty out-of-state coal.”

The bipartisan package includes:
  • A requirement of 10 percent renewable energy generation by 2015. This puts Michigan in competition with 27 other states that have such policies – states that have an advantage in attracting new energy entrepreneurs and jobs.
  • Energy efficiency programming requiring 1 percent annual reduction in electricity demand starting in the year 2012, and every year thereafter. A kilowatt of energy costs 3 or 4 cents to conserve, compared to 10 cents or more to generate from a new power plant.
  • A planning process that factors public health and environmental impacts into proposals for new power plants and forces them to compete equally with alternatives including energy efficiency programming and clean energy sources. When expensive polluting new coal plants are forced to compete with energy efficiency and other options, they will likely lose, to the benefit of Michigan ratepayers.
“With rates rising due to ever-increasing fuel prices and uncertainty over carbon costs, it is good news that we have provisions like energy efficiency and renewable energy standards to protect consumers,” said Clift.

“Of all the provisions in this bill, the efficiency programming is the only one that is guaranteed to reduce costs. That, and the renewable plan are the only measures that will reduce our dependence on out-of-state fuels and move us to a more stable energy future.”
James Clift: 517-256-0553
David Gard: 517-487-9539
Hugh McDiarmid Jr.: 248-660-4300
RELATED TOPICS: clean energy
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