A new analysis from World Resources Institute shows that Michigan is in a strong position to meet its target under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for reducing emissions from the power sector through its existing energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. These policies have already generated investments, jobs and energy savings in the state.
Under the Clean Power Plan, Michigan has a mass-based emissions reduction target of 33 percent reductions below 2012 levels by 2030. The analysis shows that if Michigan achieves its existing policies to improve efficiency and increase use of renewable energy, the state can get 98 percent of the way towards its Clean Power Plan target. If Michigan expands its existing policies on efficiency and renewable energy, in addition to more efficient use of natural gas and coal plants, the state can nearly double its required reductions, achieving 62 percent reductions below 2012 levels by 2030.
“Michigan is already in great shape to meet its Clean Power Plan targets,” said Sam Adams, director, U.S. Climate Initiative, WRI. “Its energy efficiency and renewable energy policies have created jobs and spurred in-state investment. If Michigan weakens these policies, compliance with the Clean Power Plan could become more difficult and costly and the state would miss out on important economic opportunities.”
Michigan’s energy efficiency and renewable energy policies have already benefited the state. For example:
- Wind capacity in Michigan doubled between 2010 and 2013 and wind energy supported as many as 4,000 jobs in 2014, according to the American Wind Energy Association;
- Michigan’s renewable standard has led to in-state investments of about $3 billion through 2014, supporting jobs in construction, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and repair, and in associated sectors;
- Renewable development has been much cheaper than expected. Since 2009, utilities have secured over 30 long-term wind contracts, in some cases at prices more than 20 percent cheaper than the average overall cost of providing Michigan’s electricity. Recently approved contracts for new wind capacity were about half the cost of the first contracts approved in 2009–10;
- Every dollar invested in energy efficiency programs between 2010 and 2013 returned between $3.55 and $4.88 in savings, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission. The efficiency programs instituted just in 2013 are expected to save around $1 billion over their lifetimes.
Currently, Michigan spends about $1.5 billion per year on importing coal from other states. By investing in efficiency and renewables, Michigan can drastically reduce its imported coal consumption and save billions of dollars.
|Coal-burning power plant in Muskegon, Michigan. Consumers Energy will shut it in April, 2016|
“Our analysis shows that Michigan can nearly achieve its Clean Power Plan emissions reductions target just by following through on its existing efficiency and renewable energy goals. And with more efficient use of Michigan’s natural gas plants, the state can go even further,” said Rebecca Gasper, research analyst, WRI. “Michigan can use its existing efficiency and renewable energy goals to ensure the state continues on a low carbon path while bringing economic benefits to residents and businesses.”
The new analysis is part of a series from WRI, How States Can Meet Their Clean Power Plan Targets, that examines how selected states can meet, or even exceed, their standards under the Clean Power Plan while minimizing compliance costs, ensuring reliability, and harnessing economic opportunities in clean energy.
For more information on WRI’s fact sheet How Michigan Can Meet Its Clean Power Targets visit http://www.wri.org/publication/how-michigan-can-meet-its-clean-power-plan-targets.
World Resources Institute www.WRI.org
Press Release dated January 5, 2015