News Release: Businesses, students call for stronger renewable energy, energy efficiency policies at governor’s forum in Marquette

April 12, 2013
MARQUETTE – Local members of the bipartisan Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs coalition called for increasing Michigan’s renewable energy and energy efficiency use at Gov. Rick Snyder’s energy forum held Friday in Marquette.

The forum, the sixth held across the state and the only one in the Upper Peninsula, will help shape a long-term energy plan for Michigan.

Michigan is currently falling behind in the clean energy race. Nearly 30 other states, including Midwest states like Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, have stronger renewable energy or energy efficiency standards than Michigan.

“More than 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity comes from renewable sources, like wind and solar. This isn’t pie in the sky. If it can be done in Iowa, it can be done in Michigan,” said Carrie Masters, a student at Northern Michigan University. “I will be joining Michigan’s skilled workforce soon and believe that with our unrivaled talent and deep manufacturing roots we can lead the clean energy sector.”

Most utilities serving the Upper Peninsula are on track to meet the current renewable energy standard of 10 percent by 2015. The renewable energy standard has created jobs for Michigan workers and sparked local economic development projects across the state, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission.

The MPSC has determined all utilities serving the Upper Peninsula are on track or exceeding expectations for savings due to energy efficiency programs.

There is no long-term plan beyond 2015 to embrace more homegrown energy sources and reduce the state’s dependence on imported coal, which currently produces nearly 60 percent of Michigan’s electricity.

“The governor’s energy forums are critical for discussing how Michigan can embrace more energy efficiency,” said Kerry Noble, owner of Home Inspection Services in Marquette. “We know for every $1 invested in energy efficiency, customers avoid spending $3.55 on energy. It’s a win-win for the consumer.”

Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs is a bipartisan coalition of more than 300 Michigan businesses, health professionals, labor unions, academics and scientists, agricultural and rural voices, faith leaders, environmental and conservation groups and more.

Follow the governor’s energy forums on Twitter using the hashtag #mienergy.

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