LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is positioned to double its share of electricity from wind and other renewable sources within two decades but risks falling behind other states if nothing is done, state officials said in a final report issued to Gov. Rick Snyder on Monday.
State law sets a 10 percent renewable power standard that must be met by the end of 2015. The report says 15 percent renewable electricity in 2020 and 30 percent in 2035 are "achievable" under all scenarios, including even halving related surcharges added to residential and business utility bills to pay mainly for new wind turbines.
"It is ... clear that since the Michigan RPS was enacted, the costs of renewable energy, particularly onshore wind and solar, have dropped noticeably," the study said.
The findings are designed to help the Republican governor and lawmakers when they revisit a 2008 law that instituted renewable power and energy-efficiency mandates while limiting competition in the electricity market. Final reports on electricity competition and energy-efficiency requirements are due later in November.
State Public Service Commission Chairman John Quackenbush and Steve Bakkal, director of the Michigan Energy Office, led the renewable energy study at Snyder's request and said changes were made based on more than 1,000 new comments since a draft report was issued in September. The report says the state's two dominant utilities, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, have created 2,500 jobs to meet renewable requirements — most of them temporary construction jobs.
Environmental groups and others said the report should spur legislative action.
"Now, we will be looking to leaders in the Legislature, from both sides of the aisle, to pull together for a stronger standard that saves us money, creates jobs and cleans up the environment," Jack Schmitt, deputy director for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, said in a written statement.
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