Renewable and Reliable: A Sustainable Energy Future for Michigan

With the 45th annual Earth Day approaching, it seems like the perfect occasion to highlight the progress Michigan’s energy industry is making toward the development of renewable energy. Our hometown Michigan energy companies invest more in developing renewables than any other in-state group—$2.2 billion so far, and that’s just the beginning.

Our state’s 2008 energy policy set an ambitious goal for renewable energy generation and established practical benchmarks for gradual implementation. As we discussed in our blog post last month, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) reports that all but one of Michigan’s utilities are on pace to meet the 2015 target of 10 percent.

Reliability & Sustainability: Complementary Goals

If we truly value long-term sustainability, then we must ensure that we are also continuing to reinvest in energy reliability at the same time. Newer resources like wind and solar energy have many benefits, but they do not yet carry the same reliability of more traditional sources. Fortunately, Michigan’s local energy companies recognize this. That’s why they’re also investing billions of dollars in new innovations to improve energy optimization, such as automated meters.

In order for renewable energy to be successful, we must invest in building and upgrading the infrastructure to support it so everyone can benefit from its development—a complex undertaking in its own right that is often overlooked when discussing progress toward renewable energy.

Balancing Priorities

The harsh winter we endured this year demonstrates why reliability is so important. In such conditions, an outage can literally become a life or death situation, so our generating capacity and distribution system must remain priorities. The current benchmarks under the 2008 energy policy are working; we’re making meaningful progress integrating renewable resources at the right pace without sacrificing reliability.

Our current energy policy has Michigan on track not only to meet our 2015 goal for renewable energy development, but also to ensure Michigan is able to make smart energy decisions to secure our energy future. We need to stay the course and remain mindful of all energy issues—which is of course the reason AMP exists and the reason we are grateful for your support.