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Gov. Snyder’s energy blueprint: On the right track

MEC praises direction, eager to engage in development of specifics
Dec 19, 2013
Gov. Rick Snyder is on the right track to improve the health of Michiganders by eliminating energy waste, reducing power plant pollution and increasing the state’s investment in clean, renewable energy, the Michigan Environmental Council said today.

Snyder this morning announced his blueprint for increasing energy efficiency, expanding renewable energy and making the state’s power grid more affordable and reliable. It follows a nearly year-long fact-finding process with input from stakeholders statewide.

“The devastating health consequences of primarily burning coal to generate electricity have long been part of our energy landscape,” said Michigan Environmental Council President Chris Kolb. “We are pleased that the governor recognizes that there are better and more affordable options for Michigan, including the elimination of energy waste and renewable energy at affordable prices. We can have clean, Michigan-made energy that doesn't pollute our air or water and doesn't harm the health of Michiganders."

Kolb said the governor’s desire to slash harmful power plant pollution is consistent with MEC’s analyses, which show substantial and heartbreaking impacts from coal plants. A 2011 analysis commissioned by MEC found that the state’s 9 oldest coal-fired electric plants cost Michiganders $1.5 billion annually in health care costs and expenses; cause 180 premature deaths, 233 hospital admissions or emergency room visits, 68,000 asthma exacerbations and 72,000 instances in which children were restricted from school or some other activity.

Kolb said he looks forward to working with Michigan legislators during 2014 to build consensus on specific goals and targets for clean energy as the process moves forward.

“Governor Snyder has laid out a strong vision for a better Michigan, recognizing the importance of both energy efficiency and renewable energy to Michigan's future,” noted Kolb. “We believe that concrete targets are key to keeping the momentum going, and we look forward to working with all parties to make that happen.”

Michigan’s utilities are expected to meet the 10% target by 2015 at costs that have been cut in half since the 2008 renewable energy law was passed. Findings from the governor’s task force on energy showed that Michigan could generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035 without disruption to the energy grid.

Wind power in Michigan is now less expensive than coal and nuclear and on par with the cost of natural gas. More than 240 Michigan companies are engaged in the wind and solar supply chains, bringing thousands of good paying jobs to Michigan workers in those industries.

Moving forward quickly with clean energy targets beyond 2015 is key to preserving employment gains and expanding economic development opportunities for Michigan companies, said Kolb.
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