Michigan aims for election day boost to green energy target

September 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Plans to more than double the supply of renewable power in the American State of Michigan by 2025 have been backed by wind power companies, ahead of a proposed ballot designed to increase the state’s binding green energy target.

Under current laws, energy companies in Michigan must provide 10 per cent of their supply from renewables by 2015.

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But a coalition of campaigners, dubbed Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs, is hoping to amend Michigan’s constitution through a ballot alongside the November 6 presidential election that would require utilities to supply a quarter of their energy from renewable sources by 2025.

The campaigners argue the target would create at least 74,000 local jobs by 2025, while holding out the prospect of a further 20,000 jobs if renewable energy manufacturers could be attracted to the state.

The predictions are drawn from a recent report by Michigan State University, which also found the increased target could potentially generate $10.3bn of private investment in the state’s economy.

Late last week the Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved the ballot language for the proposal, marking a major step forward for the plans. 

The plans require electric utilities “to provide at least 25 per cent of their annual retail sales of electricity from renewable energy sources, which are wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, by 2025″.

It would also prevent electric utilities increasing energy bills by more than one per cent in order to achieve compliance with the renewable energy standard, but would allow annual extensions of the deadline to meet the 25 per cent target in order to prevent rate increases above the one per cent limit.

The proposal also requires the legislature to “enact additional laws to encourage the use of Michigan made equipment and employment of Michigan residents”.

The plan has been endorsed by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which represents 2,000 member companies, 70 of which are based in Michigan.

“A wind turbine has more than 8,000 parts that can be built in Michigan,” said Rob Gramlich, AWEA senior vice president for public policy and a Michigan native.

“More than 30 states across the nation have renewable energy standards similar to Michigan’s ballot proposal. They are creating jobs in their local communities as well as clean, homegrown power. If these states can do it, Michigan can too.”

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