|August 14, 2009|
Energy Future: A Green Energy Alternative for Michigan
|GLOBE-Net - Michigan’s power needs can be met by a combination of renewable energy sources coupled with "aggressive energy efficiency programs," according to a new energy report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). |
The report shows that by displacing traditional fossil fuel energy, an energy efficiency program alone could save Michigan $3 billion in electricity costs over the next 20 years. Efficiency savings combined with the potential of 27,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power from clean energy technologies can fulfill the state’s power needs, the report states.
"Michiganders need to think about energy like an investor right now," said Rebecca Stanfield, a senior energy advocate at NRDC. "Would you put all your money towards yesterday’s dirty technology? No. And Michigan ratepayers shouldn’t be saddled with that sort of risky investment either."
Already, Michigan has taken some important steps in shaping that energy future by establishing binding targets for renewable-resources, and mandating comprehensive energy planning for utilities. Michigan also has a climate action plan, and a requirement for the Department of Environmental Quality to consider the need for all prudent alternatives to the construction of any new coal-fired power plant.
The report comes as the Michigan Public Service Commission is set to make recommendations to the Department of Environmental Quality on the need for power and availability of cleaner alternative to coal later this month.
The consulting firm Synapse Energy Economic wrote the report, finding that the state’s previous energy plan, written in 2007, is today out of date, with unrealistic projections of future electrical demand, limited deployment of energy efficiency and renewables, and reliance on 20th Century coal technologies.
"A smart energy future for Michigan is one that takes advantage of a diverse and distributed array of clean energy resources," said David Schlissel of Synapse, one of the report’s authors. "Right now, there is breathing room to really plan a smart new energy infrastructure in the state due to the current lull in electricity consumption. It is an important opportunity to develop a system that will reduce energy demand and provide new, clean energy even as the economy recovers."
The report states that Michigan’s most-attractive energy choice by any measure is energy efficiency, which can be quickly implemented, save energy, make businesses more productive, lower energy bills, create jobs, avoid pollution, and keep money in Michigan. In addition, portfolio of 21st Century choices is less expensive, cleaner, faster, more economically robust, and creates more jobs in Michigan than a 20th Century plan based on new large fossil-fired power plants.Natural Resources Defense Council