Michigan’s crisis: Can the coal-heavy state embrace renewables and efficiency?
Utility Dive, March 17, 2015
Michigan officials and electric utilities are rushing to solve the state’s power difficulties ahead of significant expected capacity shortfalls.
Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder (R) unveiled a broad strategy that calls for significantly more renewables and energy conservation programs in a state traditionally fueled by coal and known for its inefficiency.
The reliance on coal is one factor behind the state’s precarious energy landscape. Ten plants are scheduled to be retired as new federal regulations on air toxins like mercury and dioxins force older, less-efficient facilities offline. Combined with the state’s partially deregulated retail market, the situation has Michigan potentially facing a 3 GW energy shortfall next year. And in the Upper Peninsula residents are still hoping to avoid about $100 million in rate increases to keep a vital generator running.
“In the past few years we’ve made tremendous progress on Michigan’s energy policy,” Snyder said in a measured, chart-filled presentation where he sketched out his plan to meet the state’s energy needs. “But there is a big problem. It’s really simple, and it’s called coal.”