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Michigan meets renewable energy targets

Public service commission estimates renewables account for around $3 billion in investments.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder faced pressure over his opposition to some clean power plans at the national level, but his state is meeting its renewable energy goals. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder faced pressure over his opposition to some clean power plans at the national level, but his state is meeting its renewable energy goals. Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 16 (UPI) -- All electric service providers in Michigan met their renewable energy targets, with wind contributing most to the green economy, a public commission found.

"The combined efforts of the electric providers, renewable energy project developers, communities hosting renewable energy projects, renewable energy advocates and many others have contributed to the effective implementation of Michigan's renewable energy standard," Michigan Public Service Commission Chair Sally Talberg said.

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An annual report from the commission found that all electric service providers in Michigan met or exceeded the standard for 10 percent renewables in their portfolio for 2015.

Michigan's governor was criticized last year for suspending state efforts with the national Clean Power Plan. Unveiled in late 2015, the measure set a goal of cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, by 32 percent of their 2005 baseline by 2030. In March, Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, said the state was moving forward on its own as coal fades from the state power sector.

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Michigan is one of the 10 states most dependent on coal. The MPSC, meanwhile, found that of all renewable power on the grid in the state, wind was the primary source of new low-carbon options. Solar is emerging as a niche contender and Consumers Energy, the state's largest utility company, had installed its second solar power plant on the campus of Western Michigan University by August.

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A new renewable energy standard in the state sets the benchmark at 12.5 percent by 2019 and 15 percent by 2021. The service commission estimates about $3 billion has been invested in renewable energy projects in Michigan over the last year.

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