Fairness. Future. Flexibility. When it comes to energy, these three factors will play a key role in determining whether Michigan’s economy continues on the road of economic recovery.
Our Economy, in Context
Governor Snyder recently announced his intention to make Michigan a leader in skilled-job training—with Michigan’s economy improving “at a faster rate than every state except North Dakota since June 2009.”
Looking at the major players in Michigan’s economy, it’s easy to see why energy policy has such a tremendous impact on the success of the industries that currently drive our economic strength. Reliable, fairly priced energy is a critical component to both the domestic and global competitiveness of each of these Michigan economic engines:
By enacting balanced, forward-thinking energy policies this year, Michigan’s legislators have the opportunity to ensure we continue to build on this solid economic foundation while also providing for the emergence and growth of new economic drivers that will shape our future.
Energy policy must protect reliability and affordability for the sectors that currently drive our economic strength. It must also help Michigan create a welcoming home for small businesses and emerging industries that show promise here.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses in Michigan employed half of our state’s private workforce in 2011 (the latest year available). Small businesses make up an astounding 98.2 percent of all employers in the state. Of that, roughly half are businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
Michigan businesses and industries of all sizes are dependent on reliable, affordable energy to help them sustain jobs and revenue. An energy policy that treats all consumers fairly helps position Michigan to attract, retain, and support the growth of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs of all sizes.
A number of new fields are quickly gaining a strong foothold in Michigan’s economy. Here’s a quick look at just a few of these newcomers:
Michigan must nurture innovation in energy-intensive ventures like these—particularly when we’re talking about the life-and-death impact of the medical field. At the same time, we need to help legacy economic sectors remain competitive while lessening their environmental impact by moving them to cleaner, more sustainable forms of energy.
Speaking of transitioning to to cleaner forms of energy generation, we can’t talk about Michigan’s economy without acknowledging that the energy sector is another key economic driver.
Our local energy providers need the flexibility to adapt to the changing energy landscape in ways that support Michigan jobs and revenue. We should put forward policies that ensure clean and renewable energy are developed here in Michigan, by Michiganders, for Michiganders—as discussed here and here.
The state legislature is coming down to the wire on enacting energy policy this year that will put Michigan in control of its energy future. The Nofs and Nesbitt energy proposals both focus on smart approaches to moving Michigan to a cleaner energy portfolio while keeping energy reliable and affordable. It has never been more crucial for the legislature to act swiftly to put the right policy in place—our short- and long-term economic strength depend on it.
Have you written your legislators yet to urge them to pass the Nofs and Nesbitt energy plans this year? They need to hear from you.