Report: Renewable Energy Surge Could Mean Billions to Michigan Economy



Michigan could have billions of economic impacts and tens of thousands of new jobs if its major utilities follow through on their voluntary commitments to boost renewable energy, according to a new report released Thursday by a conservative energy group.

The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum report highlights the potential economic impact of utilities meeting a 15% renewable energy standard by 2021. It also predicts the impact if Consumers Energy and DTE Energy reach 30. % renewable energy by 2027, which is generally in line with the company objectives statement.

“This is not an unrealistic goal given the trajectory and rapid progress of renewables in Michigan,” said Jordan Pallitto, vice president of The Hill Group, who was commissioned to do the study.

The study models three renewable energy pathways: 12.5% ​​by 2019; 15% by 2021; and 30 percent by 2027. Building on a similar report As of 2015, the latest projections include targets under the 2016 energy laws and stated utility targets.

By the end of next year, the report estimates a total economic impact of $ 3.8 billion – which includes direct, indirect and induced benefits – and $ 1.4 billion in employee compensation. By 2027, the total economic impact could be $ 10.3 billion, according to the report.

“These are pretty big numbers,” Pallitto said.

The report comes as DTE and consumers plan to step up the development of renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions over the coming decades. In a long-term plan released this month, Consumers said it plans to develop more than 6 gigawatts of solar power by 2040.

The assumed economic benefits that utilities will use generation in the state and do not take into account the use of renewable energy credits (RECs), which utilities have used to meet current renewable energy requirements. The report also does not take into account the environmental and health benefits of emission reductions.

The Hill Group used models developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and IMPLAN to “estimate the regional impact of construction, operation and maintenance activities” associated with the development of renewable energies by region.

Kevin Borgia, Midwestern policy director for Cypress Creek Renewables, said the company plans to develop up to 2,600 megawatts of solar power in Michigan. Using a slightly different methodology than The Hill Group, Borgia said the Cypress Creek plans – if fully developed – represent a $ 3.3 billion investment supporting 4,700 construction and installation work. .

“The jobs that we’re going to need to create that would be a pretty big workforce,” Borgia said.

The MCEF study refrains from advocating any particular policy to achieve a 30% target by 2027. The group opposed a now abandoned voting measure that would have increased RPS to 30% by 2030 , instead favoring a market-based approach to renewable energy development, said MCEF Executive Director Ed Rivet.

“Unhindered market forces are going to get us to 30% by 2027 faster than people expect,” Rivet said. “I’m not sure we need a warrant to do this.

Pallitto added: “Regardless of the policies put in place, these numbers will hold up if we reach this level of activity. “


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