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E-M:/ House Clean Energy, Efficiency Plan a Win for Economy, Environment



 

January 23, 2008

 

 

Contact:

James Clift, Michigan Environmental Council: 517-256-0553

Dr. Martin Kushler, Americans for an Energy Efficient Economy: 517-256-5380

Gayle Miller, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter: 517-420-7198

 

 

 

 

Economy, environment win under today’s House efficiency, renewable legislation

Bipartisan votes advance plan to put Michigan’s economy in the clean energy game, move away from outrageously expensive coal ventures

 

 

LansingEnergy efficiency and renewable power legislation passed by the Michigan House of Representatives Energy and Technology Committee late this afternoon would save ratepayers money, protect the environment and move Michigan into competition with other states for clean energy jobs.

 

“This package is a tangible and positive step toward weaning Michigan from dependence on its $20 billion annual imported energy habit,” said Gayle Miller, legislative director of the Sierra Club, Michigan Chapter.  “It also will provide jobs for clean energy manufacturers, engineers, installers, contractors and others in Michigan; as well as address the problem of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

 

The bills would establish the state’s first energy efficiency programming in more than a decade. Each utility will establish plans for reducing energy use by 1% per year. The programs will engage Michigan businesses and homeowners in the form of incentives and rebates – paying for itself many times over in energy savings.

 

The bills also require electric utilities to generate at least 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015.

 

If passed and signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the legislation would make Michigan the 26th state to have a binding renewable energy goal.

 

Independent studies show clearly that efficiency and renewables are better economic drivers and job creators than traditional coal power plants. A study released late last year by the American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) concluded that appropriate legislation in Michigan would see a net employment increase of between 3,900 and 10,000 jobs by 2023 – the equivalent of 25 to 75 small manufacturing plants.

 

“Efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and fastest way for Michigan to meet its new electric resource needs.  The energy efficiency programs that would result from this legislation will help Michigan businesses and homeowners reduce their energy consumption, lower their bills and reduce pollution,” said Dr. Martin Kushler, a former Michigan Public Service Commission official and director of ACEEE’s Utilities Program.

 

The bills were shepherded to passage in a bi-partisan manner under House Energy Committee Chairman Frank Accavitti, with the key work done by committee members Kathy Angerer (D) and Paul Opsommer (R). The bill was voted out by a near-unanimous 17-1 margin. Voting yes were Accavitti, Jeff Mayes, Angerer, Terry Brown, Ed Clemente, Kate Ebli, Hoon-Yung Hopgood, Ted Hammon, LaMar Lemmons, Steven Lindberg, Tim Melton, Fred Miller, Mike Nofs, John Garfield, Ken Horn, Opsommer, and David Palsrok.

 

Voting no was Rep. John Moolenaar. Absent was Rep. Bill Huizenga.

 

Today’s House legislation contrasts sharply with a recent proposed Senate Republican renewable energy plan which would rely on voluntary programs and result in little to no economic development for the state.  Proponents of the House plan argue it is critical for Michigan to act quickly to compete for new manufacturing facilities that will be needed to satisfy the growing demand for wind turbines and related technologies

 

Michigan is behind the rest of the nation in far too many economic measurements these days for the legislature not to bring us up to competitive speed on energy,” said James Clift, policy director of the Michigan Environmental Council. “Adopting good efficiency and renewable standards is a key step in forging a new Michigan engaged in the economy of the future.”

 

Across the nation, dozens of proposed coal plants were scrapped in 2007 because of excessive cost to ratepayers; excessive air pollution and global warming gas emissions; determinations that the alternative energy sources and conservation measures were cheaper and more efficient; and voter rejection.

 

 

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