Clean Electricity can Energize Michigan’s Economy,
New Study Finds
Strong clean energy policies provide billions in new salaries and cost savings
Grand Rapids, Mich.—Standing with Mayor Heartwell of Grand Rapids in a Green Building, Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center released an in-depth, new study showing how clean energy can help revitalize Michigan’s economy. According to the peer-reviewed model in Energizing Michigan’s Economy: Creating Jobs, Reducing Pollution with Energy Efficiency and Renewable Electric Power - the first of its kind in the state – strong commitments to renewable energy and energy efficiency would generate at least the following benefits (through 2020):
· 88,000 person-years of employment (over 6,800 new jobs)
· $3.3 billion in new salaries
· $2.2 billion in energy bill cost savings
· 30 percent reductions in power plant pollution – including global warming emissions.
“Now is the time for Michigan to take bold steps towards becoming the epicenter of clean energy development,” said Mike Shriberg, Director of Environment Michigan and co-author of the report. “Doing so will reinvigorate our economy, create the jobs of today and tomorrow, save consumers money, and protect our environment.”
Two core policies are needed to achieve these benefits: 1) A Renewable Energy Standard that requires 20% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020; 2) Establishing an Energy Efficiency Fund of $225 million per year. Implementing these policies would eliminate the need for new power plant construction, thus saving ratepayers billions in rate increases and help reduce the $20 billion that Michiganders spend on energy imports every year.
“Michiganders are sending the equivalent of $1,700 per person to other states to meet our energy needs,” said Kim Pargoff, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment Michigan. “With energy efficiency and renewables, we keep our hard-earned money working for Michigan while reducing pollution.”
With Michigan’s economy in crisis and our energy path at a crossroads, the report comes at a time when the Governor and Legislature are debating an overhaul of energy policy that will have major implications for ratepayers and our public health. The report directly compares the Granholm-ordered 21st Century Energy Plan with a strong commitment to clean energy. The results show that the 21st Century Energy Plan would bring in only 1/3 as many jobs and approximately half as much consumer savings because of its tepid recommendations on clean energy.
“A bold, clean electricity plan will energize Michigan’s economy”, stated David Pettit, Consumer Associate for Public Interest Research Group in Michigan. “The first step in that plan is to invest in the cheapest and cleanest resource available – energy efficiency.”
As the report highlights, Michigan is uniquely positioned to become a global leader in clean energy research and development, and high-tech manufacturing because of its unparalleled industrial base. “Michigan has a once-in-a-generation chance to change course – from old and dirty fossil fuel-based energy to a more efficient economy powered by renewable energy,” concluded Shriberg. “The key is strong, visionary commitments from our leaders.”
The full text is available at www.environmentmichigan.org or upon request.
Environment Michigan - a statewide, citizen-based, non-profit, non-partisan environmental advocacy organization - is the new home of PIRGIM’s environmental work. www.environmentmichigan.org