Massive support for more renewables means Michigan legislature should act quickly
A poll conducted by EPIC-MRA found that there is strong, continuing support from Michiganders for increasing the state’s clean energy use and moving away from our dependence on coal.
According to the poll, 69 percent of responders support increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard, and 71 percent support requiring utilities to offer more programs that allow consumers to make affordable energy efficiency upgrades to their homes or businesses. Conversely, when asked what energy source Michigan should use less of, coal topped the list.
The poll follows one released earlier this year by the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum that reported very similar results. Also, in November of 2012, a statewide poll conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research revealed that there was, again, 70-plus percent support for increasing renewable energy in Michigan.
With Michigan’s utilities set to fulfill the state’s current 10 percent renewable energy standard on time next year, clean energy advocates say there’s clearly plenty of public support for expanding that standard immediately. Advocates also point out that failure to act will harm Michigan businesses that are poised to continue investing in and expanding the clean energy economy for the state.
“Failure to increase the current standards before they expire will cause thousands of job losses and many business closures in the clean energy sector,” said Alexis Blizman, legislative and policy director for the Ecology Center. “Using more wind and solar energy will also reduce pollution, give Michigan cleaner and healthier air and water, protect the Great Lakes, stimulate economic development, and hedge against higher electric rates in Michigan.”
Findings from reports released last year by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Michigan Energy Office show that Michigan could generate at least 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035 without disruption to the energy grid. Wind power in Michigan is now less expensive than coal and nuclear, and just as competitive as natural gas. Furthermore, with renewables the price is locked in, whereas natural gas prices fluctuate.
“The legislature should show that they have the right priorities for our state’s future by increasing Michigan’s renewable energy standard before utilities meet the 10 percent goal in 2015,” said Eric Keller, campaigns director for Michigan Clean Water Action. “It’s clear that the majority of Michiganders support this common sense step to decrease our state’s dependence on dirty coal and protect our Great Lakes legacy.”
Clean Energy Now is a coalition of groups that supports policies that will move Michigan beyond coal power and toward greater use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as a way to protect the environment and build prosperity. Follow the campaign at CleanEnergyNowMI.org.
Published on February 19, 2014