UPPER THUMB – With Michigan’s renewable energy plan set to expire in 2015, Gov. Rick Snyder set goals for a “no regret” energy future by 2025 in a statement released Thursday.
Snyder didn’t offer any comprehensive numbers in his goal for renewable energy, but Huron County will most likely be heavily affected by any major changes to renewable energy requirements. Wind energy makes close to 95 percent of renewable energy according to a michigan.gov report.
“We should set a reasonable, achievable, and efficient range of goals for 2025,” Snyder said in the statement.
The Thumb has been become the center of wind energy since the 2008 Michigan Clean, Renewable and Efficient Energy Act required utilities to supply 10 percent of their energy from renewable sources. The region has been designated as Michigan’s primary wind energy zone.
As 2015 nears, turbine growth in Huron County has grown quickly. The Upper Thumb will see the number of structures double in size from its 2012 totals. Michigan has 21 wind parks across the state and 10 of them are in Huron County.
The Michigan Energy Office and Michigan Public Service Commission has released several reports looking into renewable energy in Michigan per Snyder’s request. One report recommended setting a 30 percent renewable energy goal by 2035.
State Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, said that wind turbines are something that affects his constituents. He said many people have reached out to contact him about what may develop if more renewable energy legislation is passed.
“It’s my whole district, I try to keep up on wind turbines in the area as much as possible,” Green said. “I’m not sure if I want to see more windmills, but I’m not against making improvements for the ones that are already up.”
Green said there are other alternatives to putting new wind turbines in areas like The Thumb, and he feels those should be researched. He added that energy companies have been making strides in the amount of power they can produce from one turbine.
Still Green is unsure of what role the state government should play in requiring energy companies to have renewable energy.
“The government’s role into looking different energy goals is important,” Green said. “But private companies should be leading the way. Ultimately, they’ll be the ones saving money.”
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