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Commit Michigan to smarter, renewable energy priorities

By on August 6, 2012

July 26, 2012

Detroit Free Press Letter to the Editor

Commit Michigan to smarter, renewable energy priorities

Renewable, Michigan-made energy is vital to rebuilding our state's manufacturing sector. Credible research shows that increasing it to 25% by 2025, as proposed in the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs proposal, is estimated to create 56,000 local jobs and generate $10 billion in new investments, opening the door for new opportunities for Michigan businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs.

As a former senior vice president of CMS Energy, I know for a fact Michigan can achieve 25% by 2025. I also know it can be done affordably.

Which is why Frank Kelley's attack against the renewable energy standard (RES) proposal is disappointing ("Don't let energy special interests lock priorities into state Constitution," July 5). Kelley's lobbying firm, Kelley Cawthorne, represents DTE Energy, which the secretary of state lists as the treasurer of the anti-RES campaign. Kelley should have been more forthcoming about his relationship with a large utility company. He should also have been more forthcoming with the facts. Here are just a few:

Businesses look for certainty. A constitutional amendment would immunize the renewable energy standard from the vagaries of politics. Businesses will welcome the fact they know what the scheme is going forward, and they can plan accordingly.

Growing Michigan's RES will help us compete for jobs and opportunities with other states that are already ahead. Midwest states with standards higher than Michigan's are reaping economic benefits. Those states include Illinois, Ohio and Iowa, where Republican Gov. Terry Branstad credits the Hawkeye State's 25 by 2025 RES for helping make his state a national manufacturing leader.

A Michigan Public Service Commission report in February states that Michigan's renewable energy standard is working as intended, creating Michigan jobs and generating billions of dollars in new investments. The report also says renewable energy costs around $41 per megawatt/hour less than building new coal plants.

An Energy Innovation Business Council study in February showed Michigan's advanced energy manufacturing sector is generating nearly $5 billion in economic activity and supports nearly 21,000 Michigan jobs every year.

Plus, 60% of Michigan's electricity comes from imported coal. This unsustainable status quo is sending our money out of state and creating jobs -- in coal states.

It is smart business and good policy for Michigan to invest in the manufacturing of renewable energy that will continue the diversification of our economy. Renewable Michigan energy is the future, and the key to competing in the new energy economy.

Rodger Kershner
Attorney, Howard & Howard Co-chair of Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs Business Leadership Group 


Tags:  michigan, res, rps
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