January 17, 2012
A new proposed ballot initiative would require at least 25% of Michigan’s electricity to come from renewable resources such as wind, solar power and geothermal technologies by 2025. The proposed ballot is set for the November 2012 election.
Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs is trying to raise $1 million to collect 500,000 signatures for the initiative. Currently the majority of Michigan’s energy fuel comes from out of state, such as coal from Wyoming and Appalachia, but this initiative would help restore Michigan’s local economies and reduce Michigan’s carbon footprint by using cleaner energy.
Importantly, the initiative would bring an abundance of new green jobs to Michigan’s economy. The wind farm in Mason County is just one of the renewable successes Michigan has seen already, which expects to provide $2 million a year for the next ten years in property taxes alone which will contribute to local government and schools. These are high quality jobs that are difficult to outsource.
The passage of the 2008 Energy Act in the Michigan Legislature called for 10% renewable energy production by 2010. Many other states have passed more aggressive standards, and this ballot initiative would position Michigan as a leader, but would not put the state in uncharted territory. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Maine has a goal of 40% renewable energy production by 2017 and New York’s goal is 24% by 2013.
A report published by The Michigan Public Service Commission revealed that the cost of new renewables is less expensive than new coal and energy efficiency measures are known to be the cleanest and the least expensive.
The 2008 RPS of 10% by 2015 has created momentum in the Michigan renewable energy industry; it has inspired innovation and entrepreneurial activity and has begun to clean a terribly dirty state energy portfolio composed primarily of coal, gas, and nuclear. Michigan has an opportunity to continue this momentum, and should not let it grind to a halt when the 10% mark is met in the next couple years.
There are plenty of clean, local energy resources that are at Michigander’s disposal, and entrepreneurs are waiting to be unleashed to harness them.