Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hey Michigan. Want jobs?

UPDATE: The AP also did a story on this today.

Three words. Renewable portfolio standard. Pass one. Now. The House is starting work on setting a renewable energy policy, holding hearings today - let's hope they get this done soon because we have very little time to waste. Almost half the country has already passed legislation for renewable portfolio standards. Michigan shouldn't be left behind.

When you wander into the world of renewable/alternative energy, you are hit with endless acronyms from endless coalitions that talk about endless percentages and it all gets very confusing very fast. Try to ignore all of that. Just know this- the one thing that comes up over and over if you have been paying attention to the governor's travels is the fact that having a RPS in Michigan will create jobs. Period.

This editorial from MI Energy Future has been published in both the Traverse City Record-Eagle and the Grand Rapids Press, and it's a good one. Go read it. They are pushing for 10% by 2015.

A 10 percent RES will attract good-paying jobs and new investments in the emerging energy field, strengthening Michigan's economy while reducing energy costs for consumers and businesses. A recent study by the Sierra Club and United Steelworkers shows that a renewable energy standard in Michigan can generate up to 35,000 good-paying jobs. Renewable energy can help put our manufacturing sector back to work and move Michigan's economy forward.

Another study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy comes to the same conclusion- lots of new jobs, savings and investment.

If the appropriate legislation is adopted, Michigan will see a net employment increase of between 3,900 and 10,000 jobs by 2023 because higher levels of energy efficiency investment by utilities produce greater job growth. That would be the equivalent of adding 25 to 75 small manufacturing plants to the state, according to the report. Furthermore, businesses and households would save more than $2.6 billion on energy bills because a number of expensive new power plants would be avoided.

And don't forget the American Solar Energy Society and their study that predicts that 1 out of 4 jobs will be connected with renewable energy by 2030, with 40 million jobs being produced altogether when you add in manufacturing, accounting, management and construction.

By the year 2030, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries could generate up to $4.5 trillion in revenue in the U.S., but only with the appropriate public policy, including a renewable portfolio standard, renewable energy incentives, public education, and R&D.

Many of the businesses and investors mentioned in all the stories on alternative energy have said that a renewable portfolio standard is crucial to the industry's growth in a state. Governor Granholm talked with some big name investors out in California...

Granholm said that while VC fund managers in her first few meetings were surprised and impressed by what they heard about Michigan’s efforts, they also made it clear that they will look favorably on states with aggressive public policy initiatives favoring the growth of renewable energy sources.

... and the businesses already here in Michigan working on making the switch to manufacturing components for the alternative energy field, wind turbines in particular. Jeff Metts, president of Dowding Machining-

Metts said the opportunities currently before the state legislature in the form of an RPS (renewable portfolio standards) agreement could be "huge" for Michigan's economy — if legislators don't miss the boat.

Jobs. We hear it all the time. Michigan needs jobs. Well, here you go.

Get to it, legiscritters. Would love to see this get done by the end of this year.