Background and Problem
In 2008, the Michigan Legislature passed Public Act 295, which established our state’s renewable energy standard (RES) and statewide energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), and placed Michigan on a path toward a reliable, affordable and healthy clean energy future. PA 295 requires that 10 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015 and sets an annual energy efficiency savings target of 1 percent for electricity.
Since the implementation of the standards, Michigan has seen great success in creating clean energy jobs, increasing investment in Michigan’s economy, improving public health and saving families and businesses money on their monthly utility bills. Michigan has the opportunity to keep strengthening our economy and cleaning up our air by making further progress on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Renewable energy, like wind and solar, is increasingly more cost-effective than coal and major utilities have easily exceeded yearly energy efficiency savings goals- putting expanded, cost effective targets within our reach. However, with Michigan’s RES plateauing in 2015 at 10 percent and our energy efficiency targets up for review, the time to act is now to expand and update our renewable energy and energy efficiency goals.
In addition, the EPA is finalizing its Clean Power Plan rule this year and Michigan will need to continue development of its clean energy programs in order meet its targets for reducing carbon emissions from power plants under the Plan.
- Michigan gets more than half (58%) of its electricity from burning coal. All of this coal is imported from other states.
- Michigan’s coal plants emit dangerous levels of mercury, sulfur dioxide and arsenic, which are linked to heart disease, childhood asthma, lung disease and premature death. Michigan is 5th in the nation regarding premature deaths and hospitalizations due to power plant pollution.
- Pollution from Michigan’s nine oldest coal-fired power plants has been linked to 68,000 cases of asthma attacks and 180 premature deaths annually, costing Michiganders $1 billion per year. Michigan’s asthma rate is 10% higher than the national average.
- Michigan ranks third in the nation for clean energy job growth, and our state's clean energy sector is among the fastest growing in the country. Michigan’s renewable energy standard has created $2.2 billion in economic growth in Michigan since 2009.
- It costs significantly less to reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency than by any other means. In 2013, for every $1 invested to meet statewide energy efficiency goals Michigan customers saw nearly $4 in benefits.
- Increase Michigan’s renewable energy goals by 1.5% per year above and beyond the 2015 standards
- Update and increase the current statewide energy efficiency resource standard to 1.5% per year for electricity and 1% per year for natural gas
- Include public health costs in impact assessments when creating energy policies
- Defend the current science-based statutory definition of renewable energy and oppose efforts to call hazardous waste incineration renewable
- Develop a strong State Implementation Plan to comply with the federal Clean Power Plan and ensure effective implementation of that state plan
Published on January 19, 2017