Letter: If we fail to invest in renewable energy, we fail our state
The following is a letter to the editor that was sent to the Kalamazoo Gazette.
Continued investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency will keep creating jobs, sparking investment and launching new businesses. Hearings on renewable energy that are currently taking place across the state are helping to highlight the fact that Michigan is uniquely positioned to command the renewable energy manufacturing market.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Michigan ranked eighth in the nation in 2012 for its estimated 611 megawatts of new renewable capacity installed that year. Beyond the wind industry, energy efficiency programs and renewable energy goals are creating in-state, good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced.
Demand for renewable energy is only expected to grow. If market demand and price for solar panels for example, meets forecasted expectations, and if Michigan firms are willing and able to produce the selected products and components, this study indicates the solar subsector could yield an average annual total economic output of $1.6 billion.
If we fail to continue Michigan’s renewable energy investments, we risk losing the ground we’ve gained in these industries now and for the long term; however, if we rise to meet the demand of this growing sector of the economy, jobs and economic growth will follow. Michigan’s renewable energy standard will help to get us there.