Energy laws, efficiency paying off for MI renewables

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A new Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) report shows that renewable energy programs are driving utility projects and Michigan's economy.

The success is attributed, in part, to Michigan's energy law, the renewable energy standard and energy efficiency.

"During 2011…Contracts for utility scale projects…were approved, and solar pilot programs that utilize Michigan labor in their installations continued and expanded," according to the report. "The actual cost of renewable energy contracts submitted to the Commission to date continues to show a downward pricing trend. This was the case in the previous report, and continues to be true."

According to the MPSC report, the weighted average prices of renewable energy contracts is $82.54 per megawatt-hour and dropping – to $46 per megawatt-hour due to a combination of energy efficiency and the renewable energy standard, making renewable energy more attractive than combined cycle natural gas and coal alternatives.

Michigan has experienced significant investment in renewable energy since the passage of Public Act 295 of 2008. Conservatively, over $1.79 billion has been invested to bring 895 MW of new renewable energy projects online in Michigan through 2012.

In 2011, the estimated percentage of renewable energy reached 4.4 percent, up from 3.6 percent in 2010.

New records were set in 2012 thanks to wind energy which has been the primary source of new renewable energy in Michigan.

"More renewable energy came online in Michigan in 2012 than ever before," said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush in a statement. "Michigan added 815 megawatts of new wind capacity in 2012, and now has a total of 978 megawatts from 14 operating wind farms."

By the end of 2012, Michigan's renewable energy standard will have resulted in the development of 964 MW of new renewable energy projects.

For more:
- see the report

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