Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm signed into law on Monday a bipartisan energy package that creates a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating 10% of the state's energy come from renewable sources by 2015.
Michigan is the twenty-eighth state to create an RPS.
The three-bill package also includes regulatory reform that protects Michigan ratepayers and allows utility companies to build new electricity generation in Michigan, and a requirement that utilities meet an additional 5.5% of Michigan's annual electricity demands through energy efficiency by 2015.
Granholm said in a release the bill will create jobs, diversify Michigan's economy, and save customers money on their electric bills by ensuring that the bulk of Michigan's future energy needs are produced from renewable energy resources and energy efficiency savings.
"This comprehensive package will create tens of thousands of new energy jobs by making Michigan even more attractive to job-creating companies that are looking for a place to expand as they meet the growing demand for energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power," Granholm said. "It also helps reduce costs for our citizens by requiring new energy efficiency programs and reducing the need for additional coal-burning power plants."
Granholm noted the energy package protects Michigan ratepayers' money by ensuring that the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies will save more money than they cost. The energy efficiency initiative is projected to save consumers and businesses $1.04 billion a year by 2025.
The package also includes an income tax credit to offset a portion of ratepayers' investments in renewable energy for Michigan and a "net metering" law that allows customers to sell renewable electricity they produce at their homes or businesses to their utility companies.
Granholm has argued that an RPS is essential for Michigan's economic future, because it will drive investment in this emerging industry. Venture capital firms and green energy manufacturers are investing billions of dollars in expanding capacity, but they generally invest only in states that have an RPS.
Two recent studies identified the tremendous job-creating package this type of policy can have for Michigan. The U.S. Department of Energy found that Michigan is one of only four states with the potential to create more than 30,000 wind jobs alone, while the Center for American Progress estimates that Michigan can create more than 60,000 renewable energy jobs by investing in wind, solar, biofuels and energy efficiency.
Green energy manufacturing is considered to be a perfect fit for Michigan given the state has superior tool and die, metal fabrication, and metal working capabilities; manufacturing expertise and facilities that can be retrofitted to produce things like wind turbines; a manufacturing supplier network that is already starting to supply green tech manufacturers; tremendous research and development expertise in universities and corporate research centers; a world-class workforce; and an outstanding wind resource.