There are 8,000 parts in a wind turbine, all of which can be made in Michigan. Clean, renewable energy is a Michigan-made industry that grows our statewide economy and creates jobs right here at home.
A new report from Environmental Entrepreneurs shows that the clean energy sector is a powerhouse job creator. Michigan ranks third in the nation for clean energy job growth, and our state’s clean energy sector is among the fastest growing in the country. New jobs announced in the hybrid and electric car industry and in the manufacture of solar technology are proof positive that clean energy is propelling Michigan forward.
The flipside to this good news? Our state’s investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are set to expire next year.
As Michigan legislators get back to work at the Capitol, they need to know that it is irresponsible to allow time to run out on the clock. Due to leadership on the part of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters’ West Michigan Director, former State Senator Patty Birkholz (R – Saugatuck), the Michigan legislature passed legislation that led to the creation of Public Act 295, which established our state’s 10 percent by 2015 renewable energy goal in 2008.
That law laid the foundation for a future of clean, affordable and reliable energy generation that has since created thousands of jobs and more than $2.2 billion in economic growth. In order to continue our progress to date, we need bipartisan leadership on a clean energy plan this year.
Over the summer, Michigan LCV heard from business leaders, municipal officials and energy experts in cities across the state who agree that more clean, renewable energy in Michigan makes common sense.
At clean energy business roundtables in Grand Rapids, Marquette, Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo there were no shortage of stories about how Michigan-based companies are already innovating, and no shortage of vision for their potential to grow. Without a renewed clean energy plan on the books this year, we run the risk of losing the security needed to make long-term investments in the companies that manufacture wind turbine parts or build solar panels.
The introduction and passage of a continued clean energy plan for Michigan is a unifying opportunity for the state legislature. Clean energy is an issue that has widespread bipartisan support and enthusiasm on the part of the business community. In addition, the major utilities have clearly stated that renewables are working as a core component part of their business plans, and ratepayers understand that they can save money through a continued clean energy commitment.
The time is ripe to turn popular support into state policy, but time is also running out. Before the New Year, let’s put a clean energy plan on the books that creates more jobs, cleans up our air and water, and moves Michigan forward.