Michigan clean energy drive makes ballot

The Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs proposal to increase Michigan’s renewable energy standard to 25% by 2025 received approval Aug. 15.

“Michigan voters are one step closer to supporting a proposal that will create 94,000 Michigan jobs, rebuild Michigan manufacturing, protect public health and get Michigan’s economy moving forward again,” said Mark Fisk, spokesman for the Michigan Energy, Michigan Jobs campaign. “Michigan is falling behind in the clean energy race while other states are moving forward and attracting good manufacturing jobs. By passing this proposal, Michigan can compete for those jobs and put our citizens back to work.”

The Board of Canvassers’ decision comes just after three Michigan State University experts released a report estimating that a 25% by 2025 renewable energy standard will create around 94,000 jobs in construction, operations and maintenance, and manufacturing.

More than 30 states have already adopted measures similar to Michigan’s ballot initiative, including Illinois, Ohio and Minnesota.

The proposal is opposed by most of Michigan’s utilities, who say they are already procuring significant renewable energy resources without a stricter mandate. CMS Energy’s (NYSE: CMS) utility subsidiary Consumers Energy and a labor union have fought the initiative.

Opponents say the mandate would cost an estimated $12bn for Michigan utilities to meet the standard.

The current Michigan standard calls for utilities to achieve 10% renewable power by 2015. Consumers Energy is currently at 5% and that figure should rise to 8% by the end of this year when the roughly 100-MW Lake Winds project comes online in Mason County, Mich.