Monday, February 27, 2012

Utilities find wind is cheaper than expected

By Ryan Werder, Michigan League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
Posted Feb. 20, 2012, on Michigan LCV's Political Week in Review (PWIR)*

Utilities are on track to meet the 2008 renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015, according to a new report by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC). The really cool news, though, is that this official and non-partisan Commission found that it is much cheaper to build and purchase renewable energy than they had originally forecast.

We know that reports on energy usage aren't as thrilling as the Red Wings' home-game win streak, but the numbers in here really are exciting. For example, in 2011, $78.6 million was invested in renewable energy in Michigan. Another fun fact: With wind energy coming in cheaper than anticipated, Consumers Energy dropped its renewable energy surcharge from $2.50 to 65 cents, saving their customers $22 a year, on average.

As I've said before, the common sense economics of clean energy will continue to win out as it becomes more prevalent in Michigan. Gamesa, a Spanish company which produces wind turbines in the US, announced recently that it is going to build some of that renewable energy capacity in the Upper Peninsula. Gamesa is constructing a 28 megawatt wind farm in Garden Township, southwest of Manistique. Gamesa, you may remember, is also negotiating another contract to construct a Muskegon County wind farm.**

The outcome of all this investment in Michigan? Jobs for Michigan workers, savings for Michigan ratepayers. I love typing up this kind of news.

With your vote, you can ensure that I can send you more of the same great news long into the future. Construction, manufacturing, servicing, and maintenance jobs for renewable energy projects like the Garden Wind Farm will increase dramatically if Michigan residents vote for the proposed 25 percent by 2025 Renewable Energy Standard (RES) in November. The RES builds upon the 2008 measure, and will put us ahead of neighboring states like Minnesota, Illinois, and Ohio that are outpacing us right now.

* Visit Michigan LCV's new Facebook page to sign up for updates like the PWIR.
Click here for more PWIR news, including candidate Mitt Romney's comment on Michigan trees.

** Click here to read about Gamesa's U.P. wind farm.

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