June 29, 2018 Read More →

Conservative group sees major benefits in Michigan renewable energy efforts

Energy News Network:

Michigan could see billions in economic impact and tens of thousands of new jobs if its major utilities follow through on voluntary pledges to boost renewable energy, according to a new report released Thursday by a conservative energy group.

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum report highlights the potential economic impact as utilities comply with a 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2021. It also projects the impact if Consumers Energy and DTE Energy reach 30 percent renewable by 2027, which is generally in line with the stated goals of the companies.

“It’s not an unrealistic target given the trajectory and rapid advances in renewables in Michigan,” said Jordan Pallitto, vice president of The Hill Group, which was commissioned to do the study.

The study models three renewable energy paths: 12.5 percent by 2019; 15 percent by 2021; and 30 percent by 2027. Building off a similar report from 2015, the latest projections include targets under 2016 energy laws and stated goals of utilities. By the end of next year, the report estimates a total economic impact of $3.8 billion—which includes direct, indirect and induced benefits—and $1.4 billion in employee compensation. By 2027, the total economic impact could be $10.3 billion, the report says.

Kevin Borgia, Midwest policy director for Cypress Creek Renewables, said the company plans to develop up to 2,600 megawatts of solar across Michigan. Using a slightly different methodology than The Hill Group, Borgia said Cypress Creek’s plans—if fully developed—represents a $3.3 billion investment supporting 4,700 construction and installation jobs.

The MCEF study refrains from advocating a particular policy for hitting a 30 percent by 2027 target. The group was opposed to a now-abandoned ballot measure that would have increased the RPS to 30 percent by 2030, instead favoring a market-based approach to renewable development, said MCEF executive director Ed Rivet. “Unhindered market forces are going to pull us to 30 percent by 2027 faster than people anticipate,” Rivet said. “I’m not sure we need a mandate to do it.”

More: Report: Renewables push could mean billions for Michigan economy

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