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Science group says Michigan can affordably triple reliance on renewable energy by 2030


Michigan can meet almost one-third of its electricity needs from in-state renewable energy sources by 2030 – at virtually no increase in cost to consumers.

That's according to a Union of Concerned Scientists report released on Wednesday. 

Sam Gomberg is an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists and author of the report.

He said Michigan's utilities are well on their way to meeting Michigan's current requirement that 10 percent of the state's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2015.

Gomberg said that standard will level off at the end of next year, unless the Legislature acts. "We think an effective way to drive Michigan's transition to more renewable energy is to extend and strengthen that renewable electricity standard – hopefully to achieve at least 30 percent renewable energy by 2030," he said.

Michigan's current standards call for utilities to boost their use of renewables by about one and one half percent each year until 2015. Gomberg said extending that annual growth rate another 15 years is doable, and "the benefits include economic development within the state, reduced pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, and reduced risks that come with overreliance on fossil fuels."

In December, Gov. Snyder announced clean energy goals that call for reducing the use of coal and replacing it with natural gas and renewables.

Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom