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WonkTalk: Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

Welcome to WonkTalk, a new Michigan Environmental Report featurette designed to put environmental geekspeak and arduous acronyms into plain English. Why? Because we eschew obfuscation and consistently endeavor to disencumber labyrinthine prose, of course!

Term: Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
What it means: It means a rule requiring that a minimum percentage of power be generated from renewable sources like wind and solar by a certain date.
In plain English: A law mandating clean, renewable energy.
Why it’s hot: Michigan is one of about 26 remaining states without an RPS, but measures currently in the legislature would establish one. That would help spur new economic development from companies that invent, install, maintain and sell renewable energy systems. The Michigan Environmental Council and many of its allies would like to see 20% of the state’s power generated from renewable sources by the year 2020.

Term: Integrated Resource Planning (IRP)
What it means:  It means a comprehensive energy planning framework for comparing resource options to meet new electricity demand.
In plain English:  A process requiring efficiency and renewable energy ahead of building more coal plants.
Why it’s hot:  There are currently at least five proposals to construct new coal-burning power plants in Michigan. Each one would saddle ratepayers with billions of dollars worth of high-risk infrastructure for decades and work against efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  Instead of building more coal plants, our highest priorities should be maximum energy savings and full development of our homegrown renewable potential.  A statewide utility IRP process recognizes the benefits of clean energy in creating that outcome.

RELATED TOPICS: clean energy, climate change
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