Wind is the largest portion of Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Our current RPS (Public Act 295 of 2008) was passed in 2008 by a bi-partisan legislature and established a requirement that Michigan investor owned utilities, cooperatives, and municipal utilities generate 10% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015.
Michigan’s investor owned utilities are close to being finished with meeting their requirement ahead of schedule. While they have been building 50% of the renewable generation and purchasing 50% of the renewable generation, the cost of wind has been falling dramatically and the capacity factor – or the amount of energy a turbine generates – has been climbing. Capacity factors in 2007 were as low as 20% and they are now being recorded in precedings before the Michigan Public Service Commission at 45%. This means that wind is cheaper and requires less backup than ever before.
The Michigan Public Service Commission confirmed that the cost of wind has fallen by over 50% in their 2013 report to the Michigan Legislature. In west Michigan, the Holland Board of Public Works signed a contract for wind at 4.5 cents which is well below other new sources of generation in Michigan, and likely below what you are paying right now for electricity.
CMS Energy just dropped their renewable energy surcharge entirely. And this week the US Department of Energy released their latest on the Wind Market Technologies which reports that nine states are over 12% wind.
In Michigan, we have manufacturers – Ventower in Monroe, Dokka Fasteners in Auburn Hills, and Energetx in Holland – who can grow jobs in Michigan by manufacturing and developing wind generation technologies that out-perform anything built in the past.
Opportunities abound for wind, manufacturing, clean energy, and Michigan workers.