An article in Crain’s Detroit Business, Brianna Murphy vice president at Trillium Asset Management called on Michigan lawmakers to increase its renewable energy targets as a way to keep and attract businesses to Michigan. Currently Michigan has a 10 percent renewable energy law target which utilities have already exceeded. This threshold will remain unless lawmakers act to increase it.
Sustainable practices are becoming more the norm as manufacturing and other businesses are demanding access to renewable energy. General Mills has publicly announced a sustainable energy policy. Their goal was to reduce consumption and utilize renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and biomass to helping the company minimize its environmental footprint. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has embraced a comprehensive sustainability governance model that assures the principles of sustainability are an integral part of their development process.
Renewable Energy as Job Creator
Murphy noted that Michigan’s current standards for renewable energy and energy efficiency do not just lead to a greener electricity grid, they also create jobs and lower everyone’s energy costs. A report from the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council and Clean Energy Trust finds that the clean energy sector supports over 87,000 jobs. Standards have also proven cost-effective for ratepayers. According to the Public Service Commission, ratepayers save more than $4 for every $1 of investment in energy efficiency.
She also noted that a group of major companies — including General Mills, Nestle, JLL, and Schneider Electric — have written a letter urging the Legislature to strengthen the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency goals.
Clearly its makes both practical and economic sense for Michigan to embrace sustainable practices by taking the same steps that environmentally progressive companies are already doing. States have been active in adopting or increasing renewable portfolio standards, and 29 states now have them. Michigan should take the leadership role in renewable energy by increasing its renewable threshold to attract new business in Michigan.
Great Lakes States Renewable Energy Targets (source ncsl.org)
- Minnesota – 26.5% by 2025
- Wisconsin – 10% by 2015
- Illinois – 25% by 2025
- Michigan – 10% by 2015
- Indiana – 10% by 2025
- Ohio – 25% by 2026
- New York – 29% by 2015; 50% by 2030
- Pennsylvania – 18% by 2020