MICHIGAN GOVERNOR FIGHTS FOR NEW ENERGY
Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has, in recent months, been a true champion of New Energy. Seeing a huge economic opportunity to reinvent Michigan’s flagging manufacturing sector, she has been traveling the state explaining to business and labor leaders what a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) could mean to them in growth and jobs. Growth and jobs in the domestic New Energy sector are not likely to be stolen away from the state by outsourcing the way the auto manufacturing industry was.
The bipartisan efforts of Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) and Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton Township and chair, Senate Energy Policy Committee) typify the "above-politics" importance of developing New Energy and Gov. Granholm praised them for it: "They completely understand, I believe, the urgency of this…"
If only national leaders in Washington, D.C., could find the integrity to rise above petty partisanship on the issue of New Energy.
Granholm is also talking about another, more complicated aspect of energy policy. Energy consumption must be curbed. Utilities must incentivize and advocate for that. But if consumers use less energy, that means utilities would sell less energy. Why would utilities want to do that? Some states are solving this dilemma by adding a small charge to each user’s utility bill. The bill add-on is less to the consumer than what rising utility costs would be. The money goes to utilities that successfully reduce their customers' consumption. Combined with savings from cutting their own energy costs, the utilities come out ahead as well.
Michigan's coastal and offshore wind energy assets are truly impressive. What an investment opportunity! (click to enlarge)
Granholm says Michigan is a renewable energy ‘backwater’
Chris Christoff, February 26, 2008 (Detroit Free Press)
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm; House Speaker Andy Dillon (D-Redford Township) and Sen. Bruce Patterson (R-Canton Township and chair, Senate Energy Policy Committee); DTE and Consumers Energy, Michigan’s biggest utilities
Governor Granholm. (click to enlarge)
Granholm, fighting to get her legislature to pass a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) requiring the state’s utilities to obtain 10% of their power from New Energy, called Michigan a “backwater.” She is trying to convince Michiganders and state leaders an RES and the proper incentives to conserve will move them "…to the front of the pack" in attracting New Energy industry.
Michigan is also rich in biomass resources. (click to enlarge)
- Michigan House and Senate leaders are expected to reach agreement on the state RES in March.
- Granholm’s State of the State address in January called for an RES requiring 10% of electricity from New Energy by 2015 and 25% by 2025.
At least 28 states already have an RES in place and several more legislatures are debating the idea presently with their governors urging them to vote “yes.”
- Granholm specified the state’s loss of economic opportunity and jobs in the wind energy sector due to the legislature’s reluctance to establish an RES that would give wind energy industry manufacturers a baseline assurance.
- Granholm praised Speaker Dillon and Chairman Patterson for vigorous bipartisan leadership on the RES.
- Michigan’s biggest utilities, DTE and Consumers Energy, are in a power struggle with smaller companies. They say they are prepared to invest $6 billion in Michigan wind farms if new laws establish supportive policies.
Until it passes a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), Michigan has not even BEGUN to write New Energy success stories. (click to enlarge)
- Gov. Granholm, on RES deliberations in the legislature: "This ought to be done by March. If it's not, something is wrong…"
- Greg Bird, spokesman, Michigan House Democrats: "It's a way Michigan can become a renewable energy hub and create many jobs. We realize its importance…"