Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Michigan on Track to Meet 10% Renewable Energy Standard by 2015


The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today released data showing the progress that Michigan's electric utilities are making to meet the state's renewable energy portfolio standard of 10 percent by 2015.

"Michigan's electric utilities are on track to meeting the state's goal of having 10 percent of its electricity produced by renewable sources," said MPSC Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu. "The state's utilities are taking steps to build wind farms, promote solar energy and net metering, and purchase renewable energy credits."

Electric providers reported renewable energy data estimates to the MPSC for 2009, showing some 3.63 percent of Michigan's electricity was produced by renewable sources. That amount is consistent with what Michigan's electric utilities' plans are for ramping up to reach the 10 percent goal.

Previous data gathered by the MPSC estimated Michigan's renewable energy percentage was 2.9 percent in 2007.

Needs to go higher - most states have gradually increased their RES (or RPS) once they got them up and running; if we are smart we will follow suit.

The breakdown: "Detroit Edison and Consumers Energy have contracted for a combined total of 648 MW of renewable energy: 598 MW of wind energy, 45 MW of biomass energy, 4 MW of solar PV energy, and 1 MW of hydroelectric energy."

Was surprised by the biomass and solar figures - would have expected the reverse. But, when you think about generation of energy on a mass scale, we haven't seen Consumers or DTE arrange for huge solar fields to be built. More of a individual business and residential endeavor at this point.

Speaking of business and residential, our net metering effort in that area has gone from an "F" in 2007 (when we didn't have a policy) to an "A" for 2010. Net metering is when you can feed energy you produce back to the grid:

Under a net metering program, when customers produce electric energy in excess of their needs, power is provided back to the serving utility, permitting the customer to receive a credit for power they place on the system.

"Michigan has seen explosive growth in the number of electric customers that have installed renewable energy generation systems on their homes and businesses," noted Commissioner Monica Martinez. "This comes as a direct result of Public Act 295 of 2008, which put in place a net metering program that has proven popular with customers. It is gratifying to see the state's net metering program recognized by this national report."

Renewables are working, efficiency is working, metering is working. Will we try and grow on these successful, generally earth-friendly initiatives, or will fracking become the new energy policy under the Republicans? Time will tell.