For immediate release: Contact:
Sept 20, 2007 Kim
Pargoff, Energy Advocate
Shows Renewable Electricity Standards
Clean Energy Boom
Where does Michigan
—Michigan’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.
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
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
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,
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
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
Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center
is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting Michigan’s land, air and water.