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E-M:/ Reaping the Rewards



For immediate release:                                                  Contact:

Sept 20, 2007                                                              Kim Pargoff, Energy Advocate

                                                                                    Environment Michigan (734-662-9797)

 

Report Shows Renewable Electricity Standards

Fueling a U.S. Clean Energy Boom

Where does Michigan Stand?

 

Lansing, MIMichigan’s pending renewable electricity standard (RES) would cut pollution, save money, create jobs, and fuel a clean energy boom in our state, as in the other 25 U.S. states that have passed similar policies, according to a new report released today by Environment Michigan Policy & Research Center.  Dozens of states are reaping the rewards of their renewable electricity standards – showing how the RES is a win-win policy both environmentally and economically.  Environment Michigan is hoping to see both the State Legislature and Congress establish a RES this year.  

 

America now generates twice as much electricity from the wind and the sun as it did just four years ago. RES policies have been among the most important factors in encouraging the development of renewable energy. The new report, Reaping the Rewards, documents the benefits that have already been achieved by states that have adopted renewable electricity standards.

 

Reaping the Rewards found significant environmental benefits as a result of new renewable energy development.  Renewable energy sources built after the adoption of state RES policies will:

·        Reduce America’s global warming emissions by approximately 8.4 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking more than 1.5 million cars off America’s roads.

·        Avert approximately 2,100 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions, 44 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 220 tons of non-methane hydrocarbon emissions each year.

·        Save approximately 1.2 billion gallons of water per year.

RES states are benefiting from cleaner air and reduced global warming pollution, while in Michigan the utilities are proposing four new coal plants further putting our environment, Great Lakes and way of life at risk.  In Michigan the electric power industry is the biggest toxic air polluter and coal is the dirtiest fuel - mercury pollution from power plants limits consumption of fish caught in all of Michigan’s inland lakes and streams & has crippled our multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries. 

 

“While a clean energy boom is revitalizing economies across the country, Michigan has instead achieved four new coal plants proposals in the last year – it appears our state is moving backwards instead of embracing this opportunity to protect our environment and important tourism and fishing industries and revitalize our economy,” said Abby Rubley, Field Director for Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center.  “With almost 8 million Michiganders living in places where the air is literally unsafe to breathe and as the 10th largest emitting state of global warming emissions, Michigan needs to make commitments to clean energy not more polluting coal,” continued Rubley.

 

Reaping the Rewards also shows how RES policies play an important role in luring manufacturing facilities because of the long-term commitments they represent.  The report shows how several of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines have built or announced construction of manufacturing facilities – most in states that have adopted RES policies. “Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas, and Massachusetts are already reaping the rewards for their leadership on clean energy,” said Kim Pargoff, Energy Advocate for Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center. “Thanks to their renewable electricity standards, which establishes long-term commitments to build the market for renewable energy technologies, clean energy is booming in these states,” continued Pargoff.

 

The result has been that these RES states are the epicenters of renewable energy development, are drawing in significant investment and the creation of thousands of new, high-quality jobs.  For example in 2006 and 2007 some of the world’s largest wind manufacturers – Vestas, Siemens, Clipper Windpower, Suzlon Energy, and Gamesa – have all opened or announced new manufacturing facilities in RES states creating thousands of new high-quality jobs and building the renewable energy industry in those states.

 

Reaping the Rewards also found that RES states are leading the way in renewable energy development.

·        In 2006, more than two-thirds of all new renewable electric generating capacity in the United States was built in RES states.  The same is likely to hold true in 2007, with more than 70 percent of planned renewable generation capacity expected in RES states.

·        Approximately 54 percent of the electricity consumed in the United States is in states with RES policies.

·        In 2007, renewables account for about 38 percent of planned capacity additions in RES states, compared to just 12 percent in non-RES states.  For example, there are currently 48 MW of renewable energy capacity proposed in Michigan compared to 282 MW in Illinois - a state with less wind potential but with a RES in place.   

 

Renewable energy can play an important role in revitalizing America’s and Michigan’s economy by creating high-quality jobs and accelerating rural economic development by providing large infusions of tax dollars into often struggling rural economies.  Michigan already has 35 manufacturers of wind components according to Next Energy, Build It in Michigan and unparalleled industrial strength to further grow this industry.  The long-term potential for Michigan and this budding industry are significant; the issue of energy security, water use, and energy resources is not going away and RES policies may determine which states reap the rewards and which are left out to dry.

 

In order to expand the benefits of renewable energy development, the report concludes that states should adopt their own renewable energy standards and the United States should adopt a renewable electricity standard requiring at least 25 percent of America’s electricity to come from new renewable sources by 2025. 

 

“State officials across the nation deserve tremendous credit for recognizing the benefits of jumpstarting renewable energy and taking action. It is time for Michigan to stop the discussions and implement legislation,” said Pargoff. “Chairman Accavitti, Chair of the House Energy and Technology Committee and the state house have taken an important step in the right direction by taking up RES and other Clean Energy legislation, and the Senate should join them.  There are expectations for movement of an energy package in the state house in October after the pending budget crisis is resolved.  We are anxious to see Michigan take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity to revive its economy,” continued Pargoff.   

 

To view or download a full version of the report please click here: http://www.environmentmichigan.org/reports/energy/energy-program-reports/reaping-the-rewards

 

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Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Michigan’s land, air and water.