Michigan’s renewable energy movement moves on

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By Asha Dawsey
Listen Up, Lansing

A view of Lansing solar panel system from the BWL  offices across the street

A view of Lansing solar panel system from the Board Water & Lights offices across the street

The Michigan mitten will be raising its green thumb even higher by the end of 2015, with a goal to rise the usage of renewable energy to 10 percent for utilities within.

In 2008 legislation was passed for renewable energy in the state of Michigan in which it has risen the from being 1.8 percent in 2007 to 8.1 percent in 2014 and rising to meet the goal of 10 percent, said Media Relations and Communication Specialist of the MPSC Judy Palnau.

According to a report from Michigan Public Service Commission, Public Act 295 requires the state’s investor-owned utilities, alternative retail suppliers, electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities to generate 10 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy resources by 2015.

“It adds to the state’s fuel diversity,” said Palnau.

Michigan’s dependence on coal generation has been declining as a result of flat power demand and the growth of cleaner, more affordable alternatives like natural gas and wind, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report.

“Not as much coal, natural gas, or urania will be used”, said Palnau. Diversifying it  will make Michigan not as depended on one source it also is a cleaner and help diversify the fuel use so we won’t be so dependent on one fuel, said Palnau.

According to the Report on the Implementation of the P.A. 295 of 2015, additional compliance toward the 10 percent goal will be achieved through the additional generation from the new wind farms that came online at the end of 2014.

“Ten percent is a modern portfolio standard”, said Palnau, “Our 10 percent is a good number that utilities are able to meet”.

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