Snyder: Up to 40% renewable energy realistic in Michigan by 2025

Mar 13, 2015

Gov. Snyder presented his goals for energy policy in Michigan Friday at an electrician training facility in Warren.
Credit Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio Network

  Michigan could realistically get up to 40 percent of its energy using renewable sources by 2025, according to Gov. Rick Snyder (The video of the full speech is here).

His goal of boosting renewable energy to between 30 percent and 40 percent in the next decade includes increased energy efficiency to get to those numbers. The governor says increased efficiency should play a central role in Michigan’s energy future.

“There is no better answer for affordability, reliability, and environmental outcomes than that piece,” he said during a special message on energy Friday in Warren.

The governor is weighing in on legislative talks this year over a major re-write of Michigan’s energy laws.

He is not calling on lawmakers to increase the state’s current mandate that utilities generate at least 10 percent of energy with renewables. Snyder says they will voluntarily increase those numbers because it makes economic sense.

“I don’t think that’s required, because if you look at the factors and say good economics decisions by individuals and the broader base should drive us in this direction,” Snyder told reporters after the speech.

A plan released last week by state Rep. Aric Nesbitt (R-Lawton), who chairs the House Energy Policy Committee, would expand the definition of renewable energy to include trash incineration processes that generate power. That part of the proposal has drawn criticism from Democrats and some environmental groups, who want to keep the current definition and increase the state’s mandated renewable energy portfolio to 20 percent by 2022.

The governor says he also wants to maintain the current definition of renewable sources, but indicated that might be an item of discussion as any plan moves through the Legislature.

Snyder says he hopes he and lawmakers will approve a comprehensive energy strategy “in the first half of the year.”

“I think we’re all pointed in the same direction to say let’s move from coal to cleaner sources that longer-term give us better affordability and reliability,” he said.