T. Boone Pickens and Governor Granholm teamed up this morning at Mackinac to talk alternative energy. Unfortunately there wasn't a live video stream (will post if someone Tubes it later), but I followed on Twitter, and at Nathan Bomey's live blog. The reactions were very positive - until you get to the Republican followers, who were just looking to take a shot at Granholm.
RightMichigan: RT @robmacomber @S4hubbard @JBApr #mpc09 T. Boone pushing back @Govgranholm's dream of everyone owning a small wind turbine @ home. (Sweet!)
robmacomber: RT @S4hubbard: RT @JBApr: #mpc09 T. Boone pushing back @Govgranholn's dream of everyone owning a small wind turbine @ home. (Good for him!!)
Hmmm. Not sure exactly what T Boone said, but perhaps someone needs to tell Cascade Engineering that Republicans don't support their efforts to create jobs in Michigan. Cascade makes the Swift Turbine right here outside of Grand Rapids - and they have had a tremendous response to the product, with amazing future potential for growth.
"With rising energy costs and increased environmental consciousness, we've seen more people turning to small wind," said Michael Ford, who leads the renewable energy business unit of Cascade Engineering. "For the past several months, we've been inundated by requests for Swift before we even launched the product. The SWIFT Wind Turbine design solves many of the challenges of previous residential and commercial scale wind turbines: it registers as a whisper on decibel charts, it's efficient, it's safe and it's clean."
According to the American Wind Energy Association, the small wind turbine market is expected to grow 18-20 percent per year through 2010 -- despite the lack of federal-level incentives for small wind systems to date. However, accelerated growth is expected as new tax incentives go into effect in January. With the incentives, residents may see a credit up to $1,000 per system and commercial customers may see a credit up to $4,000. These incentives are expected to catalyze a 40-50 percent annual growth in the industry, making renewable energy more attractive to businesses and consumers.
Cascade Engineering supplies the auto industry, and has recently made efforts to diversify into alternative energy to save/create jobs - they were even featured in the Washington Post as a company that can shape Michigan's economic future.
Not only will small home units create jobs, the Michigan Public Service Commission just gave the green light to net-metering, which will allow consumers to save money on their energy bills by using home systems, as well as feed excess power back to the grid.
Net metering occurs when customers with renewable energy generators produce electricity in excess of their needs, providing power back to the serving utility and receiving a credit for power they supply to the system. It is anticipated that most net metering customers will be using wind or solar generation equipment.
“The new statewide net metering program means residential and business customers can add small renewable energy electric generation projects onsite and get credited for the energy they produce in excess of their needs -- at the full retail rate,” noted MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu. “As a result, my fellow Commissioners and I expect the number of net metering customers to skyrocket.”
There you have it. The Republican "base" is just giddy at the thought of stopping job creation and denying consumers relief on their bills, all born of their zeal to trash the Governor. Now ask yourself why it took so long to institute the RPS. The "Party of No" isn't interested in moving Michigan forward - and gladly cheers at all attempts to stop progress.