SkySpecs’ drone technology won a $50,000 prize in Michigan’s Clean Energy Venture Challenge.
Since the 1970s, Michigan has supported renewable energy and efficiency programs, an approach reinvigorated by the state’s 2008 clean energy law. Today, these sources include biomass power plants, hydropower, solar energy systems, and wind turbines.1 Michigan’s skilled workforce, manufacturing and engineering expertise, and export markets in the port cities along the Great Lakes have contributed to the state’s success in developing a clean energy industry. This brief examines the reasons for Michigan’s success and its resulting economic growth.
Clean energy policies
Michigan’s 2008 Clean, Renewable, and Efficient Energy Act established a renewable portfolio standard, which requires electricity providers to generate 10 percent of their sales from renewable resources by 2015.2 The standard also allows electric utilities to use energy efficiency and other advanced energy technologies to fulfill part of the requirement.
Michigan offers tax incentives for projects in renewable energy renaissance zones, which the 2008 law established to help develop a renewable energy manufacturing industry.3 The state also offers loan and rebate programs for energy efficiency investments. Additionally, Michigan encourages managers of public buildings, such as museums and government offices, to use energy savings performance contracts, which are agreements between a government agency and a utility or power company to finance energy efficiency.4
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- Hill Group Inc., Economic Impact of Two Renewable Portfolio Standard Scenarios in Michigan, 2015 to 2025, (Lansing, MI: Michigan Conservative Energy Forum, January 2014), 4, http://www.hillgroupinc.com/documents/ MichiganRenewablePortfolioStandardStudy.pdf; and Michigan Energy Options, “Michigan Renewable Energy Success Stories,” last updated Dec. 14, 2009, http://michiganenergyoptions.org/education/226-3 michigan-renewable-energy-success-stories.
- Ibid. 4.
- Energy Information Administration, “Michigan State Profile and Energy Estimates,” last updated Dec. 18, 2013, http://www.eia.gov/state/ analysis.cfm?sid=MI.
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, “State and Local Policy Database: Michigan,” last updated July 2014, http://database.aceee.org/state/michigan.