LANSING – When Gov. Rick Snyder gives his State of the State Address 7 p.m., Thursday, some Tuscola County officials will be on the edge of their seats watching.
“There’s talk the governor plans to push for a higher (renewable) energy standard… maybe 25 percent,” said Mike Hoagland.
Although voters rejected the 25 percent renewable standard by 2025 in the last statewide election, the governor ordered a study to continue exploring more renewable energy in the state.
In November 2013, John Quackenbush, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and Steve Bakkal, director of the Michigan Energy Office today submitted the renewable energy final report part of Governor Rick Snyder’s energy initiative to prepare Michigan to make good energy decisions in the future.
“We heard from more people on the topic of renewable energy than any other energy-related topic as we traveled the state and in comments sent to us in 2013,” said Bakkal and Quackenbush in a press release. “The report thoroughly examines factual information on renewable energy and lays out various scenarios for the governor and Michigan Legislature to consider as they discuss next steps for Michigan’s energy future.”
According to the 115-page report: It is theoretically technically feasible for Michigan to meet increased Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) by as much as 30 percent from resources located in the state, wind-generated power has not contributed to any system-wide reliability problems, according to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the regional transmission operator for most of Michigan, and technology improvements have reduced the price from $100 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2009 to $50 to $60 per MWh.
The report is available on-line at the Michigan.gov/energy website, along with the other draft reports that have been issued on electric choice, and energy efficiency.
Between the two completed wind farms, and the third one that that expects to be completed by the end of the year, Tuscola County will have about 190 wind turbines.
Wind energy development is part of the state’s mandate that 10 percent of an energy company’s power come from renewable resources by 2015. That standard, which equates to about 1,250 wind turbines, hasn’t been met yet.
If the renewable standard is in deed changed to 25 percent, that would mean over 3,350 wind turbines, with most of the development in the Thumb area because it has the best wind.
“Stay tuned there could be more of them coming if lawmakers up the percentage for renewable fuels,” said Hoagland noting he has some mixed feelings in the standard is increased. “While more development means more tax revenue (for municipalities), and would it be over saturation?”
Commissioner Matt Bierlein balked at the concept.
“Didn’t we just hear how the 15 percent standard (for ethanol) was going to be lower… and the state (residents) voted against the 25 percent renewable…,” questioned Bierlein.
Previously in Snyder’s Energy and the Environment message, he laid out a vision for a “no regrets energy policy,” which would be adaptable and built on three pillars: excellent reliability, an affordable price, and a protected environment.
The governor charged Quackenbush and Bakkal with the information gathering process and directed them to issue draft reports for public comment and then final reports.
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