Renewable Energy Group Urges 40% Renewable Power Goal By 2035

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LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan could be getting a lot more of its electricity from renewable sources, a renewable energy trade group says.

The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council filed comments with the state Thursday showing that Michigan could obtain 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035.

The comments came on the Draft Report on Renewable Energy prepared by Michigan Public Service Commission chairman John Quackenbush and Michigan Energy Office director Steve Bakkal. The report was issued Sept. 20 in response to a request from Gov. Rick Snyder. The final report is to be released Nov. 4.

The other three reports will be on energy efficiency, electric choice and one on “additional areas” related to energy policy. The target dates for the other draft and final reports are listed here. http://www.michigan.gov/documents/energy/report_schedule_431283_7.pdfe.
“Michigan’s current commitment to renewable energy has generated nearly $2 billion in direct economic benefits to the state while creating new opportunities for Michigan businesses,” Mi-EIBC President Dan Scripps said in a press release. “What’s more, because of technological advances and the rapid decrease in cost for these technologies, Michigan is on track to meet it’s current goals at a fraction of the projected cost.”

Mi-EIBC’s comments contend Michigan can maintain the current growth rate for renewable energy of 1.5 percent per year. The draft report considered a growth rate of 1 percenet per year, with the conclusion that the state could extend the current renewable standard up to 30 percent by 2035.

“Mi-EIBC commends Governor Snyder, Chairman Quackenbush and Director Bakkal on a thoughtful approach to the issues in question, and we welcome their conclusion that higher penetrations of renewable energy are feasible,” said Scripps. “But we can do more. The data shows that Michigan can continue to set and achieve ambitious growth targets for renewable generation in Michigan. In fact, even assuming a high level of growth in energy demand, Michigan can comfortably meet the higher 1.5 percent per year growth rate for renewable energy through 2025 at half the cost anticipated in the 2008 legislation.”

Mi-EIBC also highlighted the rapid cost declines for renewable energy, noting that these declines were not fully embraced in the Draft Report. The Draft Report assumes no further decrease in renewable energy costs from today’s levels, despite the fact that the cost of renewable energy has decreased by 50 percent over the last five years.

In formulating its comments, Mi-EIBC said it relied on research commissioned by the Institute for Energy Innovation based on formulas provided by the Michigan Energy Office that were used to develop the findings contained in the Draft Report.

DTE Energy spokesman Alejandro Bodipo-Memba said the utility “supports Governor Snyder’s process of gathering facts before starting down the path of policy discussions. We expect to meet the 10 percent RPS standard sometime next year. We’d like to see flexibility incorporated into any discussions about energy policy, in an effort to balance the importance of keeping costs low for customers. We continue to study the draft report.”

View the draft report at http://www.michigan.gov/documents/energy/re-report-draft_434477_7.pdf.

More about the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council at http://www.mieibc.org.

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